Updated 4 Oct 2019
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2 Corinthians 5
Paul shares three key themes in this chapter. Firstly, he describes the anticipation that we will one day leave this body and be with Christ for ever. Secondly, he reminds us that we will all be accountable to God for what we do in this life. Thirdly, he talks about God's great gift of reconciling us to Himself in Christ, which motivates our desire to proclaim Christ to others, so that they too might be reconciled to God.
The Earthly Tent
The mortal body, that each of us has been given, is like a tent that our spirit lives in. A tent is not intended to be a permanent home and our bodies, though they are a precious gift from God, will not last for ever. As Christians, we recognise that our eternal home is with the Lord in heaven and that we are required to live trusting God, who we cannot see, rather than trusting in what we can see. However, when we receive Christ as Saviour and Lord, we are given the Holy Spirit as a deposit, a guarantee that something wonderful is ahead of us!
The Holy Spirit
The gift of the Holy Spirit gives us the confidence that we need to serve God on this earth. Paul's relationship with Jesus was very secure. He looked forward with great anticipation but, while he was still in his mortal body, he was content to live for Christ and wait for the time when he would be at home with the Lord for eternity.
The Judgment Seat of Christ
As believers, we have been rescued from eternal condemnation. Jesus has dealt with that and given us the promise that we will be with Him in heaven. However, we need to understand that we will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive what is due to us for the things that we have done. We have some information as to what this actually means, because the Bible tells us that, after having received Christ as our Saviour, how we live and what we do will be important. We cannot say, "I am saved and so, nothing matters about how I live!". We have been given a great gift and we must not take our salvation for granted, How we treat others, how we care for our bodies, our actions and our reactions, are all known to God and we need to think very carefully about these things. Our good deeds will be seen for what they are, as well as our mistakes. In other scripture passages, Paul speaks of receiving a reward and God is faithful. Jesus wants to say to all of us, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
Fear of the Lord
Paul’s understanding of being accountable to God was inspired by a godly fear of the Lord. This means that he had great respect for his Saviour and realised that he needed to honour the one who had died for him. However, Paul also had a strong desire for other believers to receive good things from the Lord. Part of his care for his brothers and sisters in Christ was to encourage them to do well in their Christian lives. He was not content for people to simply profess that they had received Christ - he wanted people to grow and mature as Christians!
Paul was inspired by the fear of the Lord and had a great compassion for believers but, overwhelmingly, he was motivated by the love of Christ. Christ's sacrificial love for us is so inspirational. If He, as Almighty God, was willing to become a man and sacrifice His life for us, our response has to be the desire to live for Him and not for ourselves!
Ambassadors for Christ
When we come to know Christ, we look at life in a very different way and we become entirely new people because of him. Our old life has gone, we have peace with God and we have become His friends. We have been reconciled into a relationship, whereby we are forgiven and accepted by a holy and great God. And now, we want others to know the same relationship with God that we have discovered.
We are Christ's ambassadors and He has given us the ministry of reconciliation. In this, we represent Him. Because of His work on the cross for us, we long for people to know Him, to have their sins forgiven and to be considered righteous in His sight. God has done everything to make this possible, therefore it is for us to humble ourselves and receive His grace.
Points to Consider:
- How ready are we for the time when we will be with the Lord and how seriously do we take the fact that we will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ?
- How well do we care for the body that we have been given?
- Are we living with a consciousness that we are new creations in Christ?
- We are ambassadors for Christ. What is it that motivates you to win others for Jesus?
- How much do we appreciate the great sacrifice of Jesus to reconcile us to God?
God bless you!
Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 5
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