Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

2 Corinthians 6 & 7
Triumph in the Face of Adversity
Happy Mother’s Day

Today’s reading finds Paul, on the surface, defending his credentials and authority to the people of Corinth. However in viewing the passages more closely, Paul used his own hardships to exemplify his reliance on God, to triumph. From chapter 6, three assurances are displayed when people rely on God: 1) He is sovereign over all things, 2) He is faithful and will be there with us (v.7) and 3) His grace, as he provides for us (v. 8-10).

Throughout much of chapters 6 and 7, Paul called for believers to do more than just vocalize their faithfulness to God. He called for people to act in times of adversity. Paul illustrated this as he called believers to first cleanse themselves from anything that would defile their spirit (7:1). This cleansing is not just a movement away from sin but a turning to God. In John 15:18-25, Jesus spoke about how the world hated him and how we are chosen to come out of it. In 1 John 2:15, we are told not to love this world, for if we do, the love for the Father is not within us. Paul continued to demonstrate this as he used scripture from the Old Testament that gave reference to God’s people turning away from sin and focusing on Him. As believers, we are first called to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us and secondly to repent of our sins and focus on God.

But Paul called for more. He encouraged the Corinthians to work towards complete holiness (2 Cor.7:1). Paul, in chapter 6 gave examples of how Christians should carry themselves in hard times. He mentioned relying on the Holy Spirit to empower us to show a pure heart, have patience to endure, display understanding and kindness and to show love to everyone (6:6). We are reminded that these actions were not performed for prestige or to earn passage into heaven. Believers are to perform actions in order to exemplify God’s love and give Him glory.

At the conclusion of chapter seven, Paul returns to his discussion from chapter 2; as he gave the Corinthians praise for their repentance and zeal to do right. At the center of these two chapters is Paul’s desire to convey the gift of salvation. In chapter 6, Paul starts out warning the Corinthians to not waste God’s wonderful gift. Throughout the course of the two chapters, Paul informed the believers about how to be reconciled back to God and receive salvation: use the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, repent from our sins and live a life that gives glory God.

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