“You have been singing that I am your treasure. I indeed want to be your treasure. Emily always said you must not call her your treasure because a treasure is something you bury. So words can have a completely different meaning if the context or experience is changed. But I indeed want to be your Treasure forever more because that concept of a treasure is something worth way more than anything you can imagine. That is how I want you to view me as worth way more than you can conceive. Glittering and beautiful – the center-point of your consciousness and your love. So – yes I want to be your Treasure if you will make me that.”
As we come to the end of 2 Corinthians, we can see Paul’s real purpose in writing this letter. It seems that his main purpose was to re-establish his relationship with this church. A church in which a number of the members had wandered away from the central gospel message. There were also those who were in open conflict with Paul. In ch 12:20, we can see a list of all the things that Paul is aware of that have been happening there.
Paul has spent a lot of time defending his position of true Apostleship. This was not an ego-trip. It was necessary that the Corinthians should understand who he was and the authority that position carried with it. 12:11 ff. But behind that defence, his real concern is for the congregation, the people themselves. vv 14 ff
In ch 13 we can see that he is determined that his reconciliation with them should not mean that he accepted their faults. He required a definite repentance and change of attitude from those who are guilty. The readers should not mistake his declaration of his weakness to mean that he was really weak, because though he is weak he has Christ’s full strength, power and authority behind him. 13:1-4. The Christian faith is full of enigmas. The very basis of our faith, our King and Saviour came as a helpless babe and was crucified in apparent weakness, yet in reality He is the Creator and Ruler of the whole universe and sustains it with His almighty power.
At the end of the letter we come to an extremely important section from 13:5 ff. We know from what we have read so far that, there were many things happening in the Corinthian Church which are hard to reconcile with true Christianity. This happens still today in many Christian churches. Members sometimes behave in ways that are really hard to reconcile with true Christianity. The question sometimes is how do you deal with this? On the one hand if they are true Christians they need to be persuaded of the need to repent, ask forgiveness and start afresh. If they are not real Christians asking them to repent is like throwing the law at them and saying, “here live according to this”.
We all know that trying to live your life according to the law without the benefit of salvation and regeneration is totally impossible and counterproductive. The non-Christian needs to have the gospel explained to them again and again until they accept it and their hearts are truly changed. Then it is time to talk about their future obedience.
At the end of his letter Paul comes to the point where he challenges the Corinthian congregation to, “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves”.
This is a very real reminder of the huge importance that we cannot live as Christians if we are not. In so many churches people today are admonished and warned to live more upright and law-abiding lives without it being made clear that this is impossible without understanding the gospel of Jesus.
It is also a challenge which we should make to ourselves regularly. You should not be embarrassed to examine yourself and see if you are in the faith, if you are living the gospel. At the same time it is important that we assess whether those we speak to, family, friends or whomever, are really in the faith. This is not the same as judging them. It is an appraisal which enables you to know how to approach them, either as a Christian or as an unbeliever. but to determine what you should be presenting to them. The law and repentance or the gospel and repentance.
To sum up Paul’s letter, what has Jesus said to me from it? Several issues come to mind. Paul’s emphasis on compassion and how we should pass on our experiences to others.
The huge defence by Paul of His apostleship has been a great encouragement to me about the authority of scripture.
Then the constant glimmering of the gospel in the background has reminded me again of the importance of keeping that central in our thinking and speaking.
And of course, several gems like, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 4:16 ff
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.12:9.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 4:7
“And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again”. 5:15.
“If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 5:17
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” 7:11.
There are more but why don’t you share your favourite on the blog site with the rest of us.
Next week I plan to read Jude and then will decide where to go after that. May God bless you all.
- One Spirit, One Body.
- Faith - How the Scriptures Present it.
- Living in a Pagan World.
- Wisdom shown in the way we use words.
- Overflowing, All Sufficient, Grace.
- The Importance of Purity
- The Gospel - Proclaiming Him in whom is Hidden all Wisdom and Knowledge.
- Witness - but not yet.
- The Love Feast.
- The Ministry of Reconciliation.