- A CLOSER WALK WITH GOD (2)
- BELIEVER'S AUTHORITY (35)
- BIBLICAL PROSPERITY-a Balanced Approach (36)
- BOOK OF ACTS OF THE APOSTLE (45)
- BOOK OF HEBREWS (41)
- BOOK OF REVELATION (35)
- FAITH (23)
- FIRST AND SECOND CORINTHIANS (45)
- FOLLOWING GOD'S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE (42)
- HOLY SPIRIT (22)
- IN-DEPTH STUDY OF EPHESIANS (19)
- IN-DEPTH STUDY OF THE BOOK OF GALATIANS (21)
- IN DEPTH STUDY OF THE BOOK OF ROMANS (38)
- PROSPERITY (18)
- PROVERBS CHALLENGE (5)
- PROVERBS CHALLENGE 2024 (4)
- STUDY OF ISAIAH (39)
- THE GREAT SHEPHERD (20)
Sunday, October 29 2017
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In last week’s study, we looked at the first ten verses of this chapter under a title – “Living by Faith”. In the study, we learnt how Christians should handle death; knowing that when this earthly body is destroyed, there is another body: “a building from God, a house not made with hands". Emphasis was placed on knowledge and not guess work as to what happens to us when we leave this world. We concluded by saying that if we want to face death the way Paul faced it, we should make it our aim to please the Lord. Today, we continue from Paul’s last statement.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” So, having that in mind, he and the apostles work hard to win others (persuading them) but all with a pure heart and clear conscience
VERSES 11-12: “It is because of this solemn fear of the Lord, which is ever present in our minds, that we work so hard to win others. God knows our hearts, that they are pure in this matter, and I hope that, deep within, you really know it too. Are we trying to pat ourselves on the back again? No, I am giving you some good ammunition! You can use this on those preachers of yours who brag about how well they look and preach but don’t have true and honest hearts. You can boast about us that we, at least, are well intentioned and honest.”
You can sense from this verse that Paul was having great difficulty dealing with the Corinthians! If he did not respond to what they were saying about him, his silence might be interpreted as guilt and confusion. If he defended himself, he would be accused of vanity, self-commendation, and folly. That is why he was always giving instances to show that his whole carriage was upon principles far above all worldly considerations; and tells them here, once for all, that the account which he gives of himself is only to furnish them who are his friends, and adhered to him, with matter to justify themselves in their esteem of him, and to reply to those who opposed him.
VERSES 13-15: Are we insane to say such things about ourselves? If so, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Whatever we do, it is certainly not for our own profit but because Christ’s love controls us now. Since we believe that Christ died for all of us, we should also believe that we have died to the old life we used to live. 15 He died for all so that all who live—having received eternal life from him—might live no longer for themselves, to please themselves, but to spend their lives pleasing Christ who died and rose again for them.
No doubt some of the people at Corinth did not like Paul’s methods and would have referred to Paul’s speaking of his visions and revelations, his speaking with tongues as in ecstasy, his prophecies of future judgment, as so many signs of madness. Like what Agrippa said in Acts 26:24. So Paul responds in verse 13; if you see us as mad men, it is all because of you! Whatever he practised was not for himself, but for them, to win them to Christ, remove difficulties, and strengthen them in the faith. He goes further to explain his drive; in verse 14: “Christ’s love controls us now” the KJV says “For the love of Christ constraineth us.” The love he has for Christ was acting as a constraining power, directing every act of every spiritual state to the good of others, restraining him from every self-seeking purpose.
If we say we believe that Christ died for all of us, then the only true and normal position of each member of the body of Christ should therefore be one that ceases to live for himself or herself and lives for Christ. See Ephesians 2:5 and Romans 6:9-11
VERSES 16-19: “So stop evaluating Christians by what the world thinks about them or by what they seem to be like on the outside. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, merely as a human being like myself. How differently I feel now! 17 When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun! 18 All these new things are from God who brought us back to himself through what Christ Jesus did. And God has given us the privilege of urging everyone to come into his favour and be reconciled to him. 19 For God was in Christ, restoring the world to himself, no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others.”
Paul continues from the last statement in verse 15 by saying . . . “Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. (MSG); or by what the world thinks about them or by what they seem to be like on the outside. (LB) . . .. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new.
Paul ceased judging men by those standards. And we should cease from it too. Because we can be very easily wrong! Judging from what we see or other people’s opinion without knowing for sure the person’s relationship with God is erroneous. And then he links it up with Verse 17: To be in Christ, in St. Paul’s language, is for a man to be united with him by faith and by baptism (Romans 6:3-4), to claim personally what had been secured to him as a member of the Body for whom Christ died. In such a case the man is born again (Titus 3:5)—there is a new creation; the man, as the result of that work, is a new creature. The old things of his life, Jewish expectations of a Jewish kingdom, chiliastic dreams, heathen philosophies, lower aims, earthly standards—these things, in idea at least, passed away from him at the time when he was united with Christ. All these things are of God (Verse 18) ... being completely changed; no longer the old person but a brand-new creation inside! It was God who did the work Himself through what Jesus did on the cross and if we are called to preach this good news, we should count it as a privilege! And more importantly, when we do, we should focus on the truth that God has blotted out our sins; not counting their sins against them anymore!
Conclusion Verses 20-21
20 We are Christ’s ambassadors. God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you—be reconciled to God. 21 For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!
We are ambassadors for Christ. This implies that you, I, and preachers of the Word are acting on behalf of Christ. God used the apostles and wants to use us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter God’s work of making things right between them. And just in case you want to know how this became possible with us sinners, Paul answers in verse 21 “. . . In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.”