Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: 2 Corinthians Studies|
Chs.5 & 6
Chapters 5 & 6
Chapter: 2 Cor 5
Passage: 2 Cor 5:1-5
A. Find Out:
1. What two “buildings” does Paul refer to? v.1
2. What do we do and why? v.2,3
3. Again, what do we do now? v.4a
4. Again, why? v.4b
5. What two things has God done? v.5
Paul has just been writing about the frailty of his life and ministry and had concluded by speaking about their eternal hope which helped them cope with the pressures of their present life.
Now he speaks further on this hope. He describes living in a human body as living in an earthly tent. It is something that is temporary, something that will eventually be destroyed. While we are in this human body we groan, not only from aches and pains and illnesses, but also from a sense that there must be something more, something better. That “something more” is a place in heaven with a new, glorious, spiritual body, an eternal body where there is no decay (see Rev 21:4 & 1 Cor 15:42-44)
Now take note of Paul's last words in today's reading “it is God who has made us for this very purpose”. We have been made for an eternal destiny. Our time on earth in a human body is merely the entrance foyer to our eternal life. We so focus on this life as if it is all important, but it is so only in so far as it is the possible entrance (for some never make it!) to eternal life. How can we be sure of this? First because God has said so, and then second, because God has put His own Holy Spirit within us as a sample or deposit of what is to come. The Holy Spirit gives us a glimpse of eternity as he expresses something of heaven on earth. If He has done that for us now, we can be sure of it in eternity.
A. Find Out:
1. What did Paul say about living in the body? v.6
2. How did he say they lived? v.7
3. What again did he say he would prefer? v.8
4. So what was his goal? v.9
5. Where did he say we must all appear? v.10a
6. What will happen there? v.10b
Paul has previously been writing about the eternal life beyond this life on earth in a human body. Now he declares his confidence in this hope of an eternal life that continues on after this world. Twice in this passage he declares this confidence. He knows that while he is here in a human body he still has yet to receive his eternal inheritance. While he's here he can't be in heaven with the Lord. In fact, because of all the tough things that happen to him, (inferred from earlier verses) he would actually rather being away from this earthly body and living in his new heavenly body with God.
Sandwiched in between these two declarations of confidence is a simple but dynamic statement: we live by faith not by sight. In the present context this is simply a reiteration of what he said in 4:18, we live not by looking at what can be seen but by looking beyond to what is unseen. God has spoken about our eternal destiny and it is this which motivates Paul in his life and ministry. Heb 12:2 says the same thing about Jesus who “for the joy set before him endured the cross”. Jesus looked beyond the cross to what would follow. That helped he go through the cross. Paul knew that in eternity he would be rewarded for what he did here. That was a great motivation!
A. Find Out:
1. What did Paul try to do and why? v.11
2. What did he say he was not doing, but was doing? v.12a
3. What did he want them to be able to do? v.12b
4. What did he say about being in or out of his mind? v.13
5. What compelled him and of what was he convinced? v.14
6. Why had Christ died? v.15
Paul has just written about the judgement seat of God (v.10) and the thought of that should create within us a fear or awesome respect of God, which in turn will provoke us to share the Gospel so others will be all right when they come to that same judgement seat.
Then it is as if Paul becomes aware that he has been saying rather a lot about himself and his ministry, and explains why. Look, he says, we're not trying to commend ourselves but are just trying to help you see why you can take pride in us when you speak about us to others. He goes on, if we're out of our mind, if we seem crazy going on like this, it's purely because we want God to be glorified. If we're right in what we're saying, it's because we have your good in mind. It's Christ's love that motivates us, he goes on, that creates this love for you (implied), because Christ gave his life for us, so now we give our lives for him and therefore everything that we, and you, do we do for him.
There is some amazing teaching here. Paul doesn't like talking about himself but he'll do it if it will help the Corinthians. Although they are in the wrong he has a heart of love for them. That love is motivated by Christ's giving his life for Paul. So now Paul gives up his life in the service of his Lord.
A. Find Out:
1. How did now regard people, and what had he done? v.16
2. But how does he see people today? v.17
3. What 2 things has God done? v.18
4. How does he expand on this? v.19
5. So what were they and what did he ask? v.20
6. What 2 things has God done? v.21
Paul has just been speaking about living with an eye on the unseen, on reality, and now he says that when he looks at people he doesn't see them as he used to. Once he had even considered Christ a mere man, but that has all changed now. Now he knows that if any man is “in Christ” he is a new creation, he's not just a man, he's a man with a relationship with God and a man in whom is the Spirit.
This, he knows, is all the work of God who has reconciled us to Himself through the work of Christ. Once we were at a distance from God, separated from Him by our sin, but Jesus came and took our sin upon himself on the Cross so that free from that sin we could be declared righteous. Once we were declared righteous there was nothing to hinder our coming close to God and God coming close to us; we had been reconciled to Him and he to us.
There is nothing more wonderful than this truth: the Almighty, Holy God, Maker of all things, whose holiness would burn up sinners, has in fact taken the sin of sinners through His Son so that the issue of their sin is no longer an issue. Instead the way is made open for them to receive all the rights of sonship, able to enter into all the goodness of God that He provides for us. Isn't that glorious!
A. Find Out:
1. How did Paul address them? v.1a
2. What did he urge them to do? v.1b
3. What had God said prophetically? v.2a
4. And what did Paul now assert? v.2b
5. What did Paul say they didn't do? v.3a
6. Why? v.3b
In the previous chapter Paul had been pleading with the Corinthians to maintain a right relationship with God (v.20c) and so he now goes on to urge them let the grace they originally received be fully worked out in them. He says he is their fellow worker. In that he places himself alongside them, not above them. He also acknowledges, or perhaps reminds them, that they are workers for God. But, he is saying, it is possible to receive salvation and then miss it!
So, he continues, let me remind you of what God said in the Scriptures about the day of salvation. God had said He had heard Israel and brought them salvation. Now, Paul says, is that ongoing day of salvation, now is the time of God's ongoing favour through the work of Jesus, so don't miss out on it. It's like he is saying that here is a day of opportunity, so don't miss it while it's here.
Then he goes on to say that he doesn't want to be a stumbling to them in anything he has been saying. He doesn't want to say the wrong thing so that his ministry won't be discredited and rejected. He wants his wisdom to be received by them, so he is going on to explain more about the way they work. Paul doesn't want anything to get in the way of them responding and going on with God.
A. Find Out:
1. List and summarise the means of commendation in v.4,5
2. Do the same with verses 6 & 7.
3. Do the same with verses 8 to 10.
4. What does Paul say they have done? v.11
5. What did he say they hadn't done that the Corinthians had? v.12
6. So what does he ask them to do? v.13
Paul has been pleading with the Corinthians to receive God's grace, to receive Paul's words of encouragement and not be put off by correction. He's not afraid to reveal himself fully to them as part of his appeal to be accepted.
In verses 5 and 6 he points out the incredible difficulties he had been through as part of this ministry. Look again at that list. That was what the early church pioneers had to go through! In verses 6 and 7 he shows the characteristics of Christ that were required of them, good characteristics that required a very high standing. Verses 8 to 10 could be sub-titled “the good and the bad of the apostolic life”. It was a life of opposites, tough times and good times, tough but fruitful.
When he comes to the end of these he says, look we've opened our hearts wide to you. We don't hold anything back from you, yet you do from us. Please, as a father to his children, fair's fair, open your hearts to us, receive us, listen to what we are saying.
In this letter we are seeing almost a desperation in Paul for these Corinthian believers to receive him and what is he saying. Nowhere else in Scripture do we find Paul revealing so much of himself and his ministry, all so they will receive God's words of correction.
A. Find Out:
1. What instruction and then 2 questions does Paul now bring? v.14
2. What next three questions does he ask? v.15,16a
3. What does he declare we are & what had God said? v.16b,c
4. What instructions of the Lord does he quote? v.17
5. For what had God said he and we will be? v.18
The instructions that Paul now gives seem to have no reference in what has gone before, yet all that has gone before prepares the way for Paul to bring words of correction. Obviously there had been a situation where Christians were joining with non-Christians, and so Paul speaks firmly against this in v.14a. Note his argument.
He first asks a series of questions to ask how opposites can be together. We might say “How can oil and water go together?”. His descriptions of the non-believer are instructive. He says the non-believer is in wickedness, in darkness, under the rule of the enemy, and an idol worshipper. If we are a single person we need to remember these truths if we are tempted to join ourselves to a non-Christian.
Remember says Paul your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, the very dwelling place of God (also 1 Cor 3:16 & 6:19), you are one of the people of God, in fact a son or daughter of God. This non-Christian you are considering is non of those things. So says Paul, as he quotes Scripture, come apart from them, they are unclean, don't touch them they are against the Lord you love. Note that Paul doesn't make any allowance here, for a person who might be saying, “Well, you might bring them to Jesus”. No, he says, stand away! IF they come to Christ you may consider them but not before!
RECAP: "Eternity Decrees the Present" - 2 Cor 5:1 - 6:18
In this third group of 7 studies we have seen Paul speaking about :
Paul is very much aware of the heavenly realm. He's aware that heaven is his destiny. He's aware that every human being will have to come before God's judgement seat in heaven. Therefore his ministry is to seek to bring the Gospel to as many people as possible to reconcile them to God before leaving this earth. He thus no longer view people form a purely human standpoint but views them as people who have a destiny of appearing before God. Because of this he urges the Corinthians to fully receive God's grace in the form of salvation, to receive all that Paul is saying and let nothing keep them from the fullness of their salvation especially by not siding with the world, being united to unbelievers.
1. Our destiny is heaven.
2. In heaven we'll have to account for what we did on earth.
3. Today we need to live with that in mind.
4. We need to live lives that are distinct from sinners.
Thank the Lord for your eternal destiny.
PART 4 : "Grief & Encouragement"
In this final Part see how Paul speaks about joy, grief and sorrow as he talks about why he had previously written to them.