2 Corinthians 4 & 5
Today’s reading is one of HOPE. Both chapters 4 & 5 contain words that inspire us to focus on Jesus and what we have after this worldly life. Also embedded into these chapters are Paul’s continued efforts to address false teachers, his ministry and cultural beliefs that do not coincide with biblical principles.
In looking at chap 4, Paul begins to remind us about our future as he illustrated to the Corinthians that this world is Satan’s and these earthly bodies are but temporary, fragile clay vessels. Paul points out that even though we are in this state, it gives testimony to how things are accomplished through God empowering us and not through our own skills. Paul later in chapter 4 used this concept to show how even though we go through strenuous circumstances; God is always with us (4:8-9). These same trials, Paul continued, could be seen in two manners. First it would act as a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Secondly, as we faithfully go through our troubles; it gives testimony to others about the power and goodness of Christ Jesus.
Something always to ask yourself; would people see God’s light shining out of you, during troubled times or would they classify you as a poor witness?
In looking at chapter 5, Paul begins to readdress the issue of resurrection. Paul is confronted by the problem of cultural beliefs that conflict with biblical principles. The Corinthians were heavily influenced by the Greek culture which did not believe in the resurrection of the body. In our own time are you able to identify cultural beliefs that go against what the Bible teaches. Issues like abortion and premarital sex are always at the forefront but what about other issues such as the increase in fatherless homes, media/entertainment and poverty?
In chapter 5, Paul not only painted a picture of hope, as we would dawn new bodies and be present with the Lord; he wanted to make clear that believers were to acknowledge their new life here on earth in action and thought. Paul urgently tried to get across that a new life meant, a new creation, specifically for Christ, a new perspective about others, and having a new family. What we can draw from Paul’s view of a new life in Christ is:
1) Live by believing not by seeing. (v. 7)
2) Be fearful of the Lord’s judgment (v. 10-11)
3) Our actions are guided by the Love Christ displayed on the cross (v. 14-15)
4) We are God’s ambassadors as we are tasked with reconciling others to Him. (v. 18-20)