(2 Corinthians 8:1-12)
There are many people in the church today who suffer needlessly. They believe that they are sinners and could never be acceptable to God, and so they live lives of gulit and self-condemnation.
You are accepted for who you are
I am aware also of some churches that preach a similar dogma, stating that it is virtually impossible to be perfect. Some teach that the only people who will be saved will be the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation. Others claim that you cannot be baptised in water until you have cleansed all sin from your bodies, and are virtually perfect. As such only a few of their members are baptised.
Such teaching is wrong and such thinking is destructive. In Christ we were and are accepted for who we are and what we are. We do not have to be perfect to come to Him because the work of the New Covenant and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what brings us to perfection. We come in weakness and are transformed into perfection as the Holy Spirit works in and with us as individuals.
(2 Corinthians 7:12-16)
Who can hide from God? Who can go somewhere or do something without God knowing? Nobody can because God is watching all of the time.
God is watching everything ALL the time!
This short section of scripture speaks of the comfort and confidence Paul has in the church at Corinth because they are obedient and working to ensure they are following the sure word as taught. We need to do likewise and so prove to be following the Lord correctly.
Obedience to the words of the Lord and seeking the truth that will please God is critical. God is watching everything that goes on in this world. He is in control of all the events taking place in the world on both the grand scale as well as in the smallest details in the lives of every individual. Continue reading
(2 Corinthians 7:5-11)
One of the guarantees of this life is that there will be troubles. We will suffer afflictions that cause us to grieve that are both internally and externally generated. External events can cause us grief, such as the loss of a loved one, and we can cause grief within ourselves through stress, worry and anxiety.
Godly grief leads to repentance but worldly grief leads to death
But there are two types of grief as we see explained in this section of scripture. There is worldly grief and there is a godly grief, and the outcomes of each of these is quite different.
Likewise, in Christ we have a comfort that is not available to the unbelievers of this world. People who are suffering seek comfort because they want the suffering to cease. But the comfort that comes through the knowledge of Jesus Christ goes deeper than any comfort that the world can give.
The great commandment in the law, as described by Jesus, is to love God with all your heart, mind and strength. He then adds that there is a second commandment that goes with this one, which is to love your neighbour as yourself.
Attitude of The Heart
The foundation on which both of these commandments are built is love, and indeed all of the commandments of God were based upon love, either love for God or love for our fellow man.
So we see that if we are to emulate Jesus Christ and be transformed into His image, we must learn to love as God loves us. To do this we need to develop love as the base attitude of the heart and so be guided by love as we live out the love of God. Continue reading
(2 Corinthians 7:1)
Many times I have written that the purpose of the Christian faith is aimed at making believers perfect. In Christ we have the ability to become perfect, and we are told by Jesus Christ that we MUST become perfect if we are to stand before God.
Becoming Perfect in Christ is not something we do alone
Jesus made tis comment as one of the teachings in the sermon on the mount, saying, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) Perfection was not indicated as a suggestion for us. He did not say it would be nice if we could be perfect. Jesus told us clearly that you MUST be perfect.
So given that this was a command of the Lord, we need to seek and find the way that this can be done. We are fortunate that the work of perfection is not ours alone, but we still need to seek how this is to be done in Jesus Christ, and to understand what this perfection is. The verse in 2 Corinthians 7:1 gives us some clues.
(2 Corinthians 6:11-13)
What is holding you back? Are you seeking to be a “better Christian” but can’t seem to achieve what you are looking for? And do you really know what it is you are actually looking for as a Christian?
What is holding YOU back?
Many people have an ideal in their mind as to what it means to be a Christian, but often they live lives in condemnation because they can’t measure up to that ideal. They think a Christian should be a certain way, act in a certain manner or think a certain way and they cannot achieve those ideals. And so they condemn themselves for their lack of control, lack of motivation, lack of faith or whatever.
Which brings me back to my first question and the title of this post: What is holding you back? That is what we need to look at today as Paul discusses aspects of this question in these few verses.
(2 Corinthians 6:3-10)
Those of us who teach and preach the word of God need to listen very carefully to the words in this section of scripture.
When you put what YOU believe under the microscope, will you find faultless ministry or lies?
Our work is ministry and ministering to the spiritual needs of those we come into contact with. Our work is to feed people with spiritual food so as to nourish and replenish the spirit’s of men and women, so that they do not starve and shrivel for lack of God’s sustenance.
We are stewards of God’s word and we need to use it to instruct, teach, encourage and help others so that they will grow to maturity in Jesus Christ. This is our mission, and these words today exemplify the extent and extremes of that mission. So you teachers out there, listen carefully and prayerfully. Continue reading
(2 Corinthians 6:1-2)
The grace of God has been given for all people to be able to come to Christ when and if they accept God’s grace. The invitation is open to all mankind, but it is up to each and every person to accept God’s inviting grace and so be saved from their sins through His grace.
Now Is The Acceptable Time
The great thing about the grace of God is that it does not fade or go away. His grace is always there and ready so that we may receive His salvation. His grace is a constant and it both saves and forgives when we fall.
But we must first accept His grace, which we are able to do only by coming to God through Jesus Christ. God’s grace was made available and salvation made possible only by the sacrifice of Jesus. It is through Christ that God’s grace is made effective in our lives and understanding how His grace works through Christ is an important part of our walk.
(2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
Reconciliation is an interesting word and process. It is used in many different senses, but in all cases it means the same things.
Reconciled to God
Reconciliation is a process of coming together to bring two (or more) things into alignment and into balance. In business we see accountants who reconcile accounts to ensure the finances of the business balance. In the home we see people reconcile their checking accounts to make sure their home finances balance. In relationships they go out of balance, the process of reconciliation is necessary to restore the broken relationship.
And what we see here in the Bible is where God is bringing balance and alignment back between himself and mankind to restore the relationship that has been broken through sin. It is the active working of God’s grace that enables man to be reconciled to God and God has given us this ministry so that we can come to the place where we stand before Him righteous.
“18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”