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2 Corinthians 4

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28 

SCRIPTURE: 2 CORINTHIANS 4

The Christian life is supposed to be a challenging life.  It is a blessed life.  It is the only true life.  But it is, nevertheless, supposed to be challenging, even difficult at time.  As American Christians we haven’t experience much of that – yet. 

One of the reasons the Christian life is supposed to be challenging is the battle within us that happens not only at salvation but also every day of our saved lives on this earth.  There is always an inward struggle over our sin, over right and wrong, over serving or demanding to be served.  Another reason the Christina life is supposed to be challenging is this earth is not our home.  In fact, we are supposed to operate as ambassadors in a foreign land.  And at some point, if we are living out our Christian faith, that will create conflict in an increasing anti-Christian culture.

That is much of what Paul is writing about in this chapter.  In fact, in verse one he speaks of “not losing heart”.  He speaks of not giving up, of not quitting, or not walking away from it all.  For Paul to speak of not losing heart points us to the distinct possibility that such a thought had actually crossed his mind.  When you look at what he wrote in verses 8-9, you can begin to understand why it would have been easier for Paul to walk away from it all.

It would have been easier.  But it would not have been better.  Because Paul was committed to the Gospel and to the ministry that God had given him, he would not quit.  Because Paul knew that the joy and reward of living the Christian life far outweighed anything this world had to offer him, he could not quit.

Instead he was committed to the simple, profound and powerful truth of the Gospel.  As he says in verse 2, he did not add anything to it, take anything from it, or try to make it into a more socially acceptable message.  Instead he stayed true to the message of Truth.

In verses 3-4, Paul reminds us that those who are perishing – those who are lost and headed for hell – have had their minds blinded to the Gospel by Satan.  In other words, they can neither see it clearly nor understand it completely.  Satan does this in an attempt to keep them lost.  But as verse 5 indicates the solution to this is faithful Christ followers proclaiming the Good News.

As we preach, teach, and share the Good News those who have been blinded to it will have the ability to see it – to understand it.  It is at that moment that they can be saved.  But unless we are willing to share the Gospel, those who are lost will never know about this glorious message of grace.

In verse 7, Paul speaks of having this treasure in clay jars.  The treasure he is speaking of is the Gospel.  The clay jars that he speaks of are our human bodies.  In the era that Paul was writing, people used clay jars for lots of things.  They stored things in them.  They hauled stuff in them. The only thing that gave clay jars any value was what was kept inside of them.

And so it is with us.  Our human bodies are literally clay jars.  We are made from the dirt of this earth and eventually our physical bodies will return to that dirt.  But it is what we carry inside of us that makes us valuable.  Those of us that are saved carry not only the Holy Spirit in us but also the light of the Gospel of Jesus.

Anytime we get jostled around or knocked around or have holes knocked in us (verse 8), the light of the Gospel of Jesus spills out for all to see.  Even in our trials and tribulations, the light that is within us shines through.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

2 Corinthians 5

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, MARCH 29

 

SCRIPTURE: 2 CORINTHIANS 5

Once again we find ourselves with another one of those chapters that we need to break into multiple sections and spend at least one day with each section.  But as I have said multiple times before, that is not an option.  So, I am going to hit a couple of high points.

In the previous chapter, Paul used the analogy of clay jars to describe us, particularly our physical bodies.  In this chapter, he changes comparisons.  Our physical bodies are here referred to as tents.

One way to think about that is our physical bodies are like the Old Testament tabernacle which was designed and built to provide a place for the glory of God to reside temporarily.  And so it is with our physical bodies.  When we are saved, the Spirit of God comes to reside temporarily within us.  That doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit will leave us. He will not.  As the end of verse 5 says, He is our guarantee of the fulfillment of God’s great promises to us. 

The reason that the Spirit of God resides temporarily in our physical bodies is our physical bodies are temporary.  At some point, our bodies will cease to operate and physical death will occur.  Verse 4 speaks of being “in this tent”.  That is our physical life.  The same verse also speaks of being unclothed.  That refers to our physical death.  The same verse also speaks of being further clothed which is a reference to our glorified body that we will receive.

Verses 6-8 elaborate on this a bit but these verses also make a most important point.  There are only two possible places a Christ follower can be.  We are in either in our physical body or we are with the Lord.  There is no third option for those who have been born again.

In verse 9, Paul begins to turn the topic of the chapter.  He speaks of making a stout decision to live in such a way that would please the Lord.  Although you probably have a reason for wanting to live that way, Paul gives us a profound reason in verse 10.  It is called the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Only Christ followers will appear at this Judgment Seat.  So, this is not a judgment of our eternity.  Our eternity in heaven is fixed and guaranteed when we are saved.  The Judgment Seat of Christ is where our lives after our salvation are revealed.  It is where we face the quality of our stewardship of our lives after our salvation.  What did we do with what we had after our salvation?  Again this is not about whether we go to heaven or hell.  This is about our accountability to God for the gifts and talents and opportunities He gave us.

In verse 11, Paul says basically that based upon what Christ followers will face, those who do not know Christ should be terrified of their judgment.  Part of the good news of the Gospel is that God doesn’t want anyone to face the judgment of the lost.  So, beginning in verse 17, we read about the ministry of reconciliation.

God has taken it upon Himself to provide a way for humanity to be reconciled to Him.  This involves being made a new creation (v. 17).  It involves not having our sins counted against us (v. 19).  It involves God counting us righteous because of what Jesus did for us (V. 21).  And it involves us having a ministry of reconciliation (v. 18).  This ministry is based upon our being ambassadors for Christ (v. 20).  It is impossible for us to save anybody or reconcile anybody to God.  But we can represent Jesus in such a way that people can choose Him and experience the reconciliation that comes with that choosing.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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