I have been singing, “it was finished upon that cross”.
“Do you fully understand and appreciate the full extent of what those words convey? Of that moment in time when everything changed? Up till then the whole of creation, the whole of history was building up with bated breath and as I called out those words the dam broke and my healing power, my forgiveness, my grace flooded the world in a new way and from then onwards everything was changed, made new. But, although Satan was defeated at that moment he still prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The battle is intense – look around you and you can see all the debris of the battle in the broken lives, the pain and the suffering. Do not ever underestimate the intensity of that battle – yes I am the victor, in Me you are safe. So be alert, hide yourself in me as a shield against the fiery darts and go out in that confidence, the confidence of My victory.”
As we move now into Chapter 5 of 2 Corinthians, we follow Paul’s discussion on the contrast between our present frailty and the beautiful permanence of the gospel. He reminds us, as if we need to be reminded of the sighing and groaning in our lives in this world. He uses the picture of a tent for our bodies, to emphasize the temporary nature of our life here on earth. We need to remember that this life is only temporary and we are reminded that we were sealed with the Holy Spirit the moment we were born-again to guarantee a life which is still to come, a life of real permanence.
In the meantime Paul also reminds us that, in this life we live by faith (v 7) and our aim should be to live a life which is pleasing to God. And we will all appear before the throne of grace eventually – not to be judged, Jesus has taken God’s judgement on Himself, but for the things that are due to us (v10).
I have pondered a lot on this passage, as to what Jesus is actually saying to me. I have been experiencing a number of physical challenges in the last months and have often found myself so wrapped up in my immediate feelings and emotions that I have seemed to have put my relationship with Jesus on the back burner. It is what I feel at the moment which fills my mind. Yet what Paul is saying is that everyone is living a temporary life here on earth, the sighing and groaning are common to all. I need to step past that, remind myself of the bigger picture and live by faith in a way that pleases God, from moment to moment. I can only do this with the power of His Spirit to help me.
Paul then goes on to describe his actual ministry, in this case to the Corinthians, but I dare say it has been his ministry from the beginning. Similarly it is every one of us’ ministry. Maybe for some in only a small way and for others a full-time career.
He gathers it all together with the description of the ministry being one of reconciliation. vv 18 ff. Notice though, it is a ministry in which God is doing the reconciling “through Christ“. He is reconciling the whole world to himself. The role of the minister? the role of each of us? Is to be an ambassador, appealing to the lost on Christ’s behalf.
Paul launches this section with two reasons why he is constrained to do this work. v11 “Since, then we know what it is to fear the Lord”. And in vs 14 “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all , and therefore all died.”
Do you know what it really means to “fear the Lord?” And are you constrained by Christ’s love to follow Him as He asks, being an ambassador for Him?
In this section is also the kernel of the gospel again, so well put and worth taking in. vs 14b “One died for all and therefore all died. (15)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.” vs 17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.” vs 21 God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”. vs 19 “God was reconciling the world to Himself , in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them”.
Then finally the appeal to respond in Ch 6. We all would like to call out to some of our loved ones “Now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation”. It is urgent but it is God who saves, as much as we may call out to the lost. Seeing that it is God who saves our all should equally be to Him to save.
So bless you all for another week.