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(Working out our differences with open hearts and GOD’s grace)
(2 Corinthians 6:1-13)
Second Corinthians 6, verses 1 and 2, should actually be read with chapter 5. Here Paul finishes his thoughts on “reconciliation”, and, on how Christians must view themselves as being “GOD’s Ambassadors” to the world. It is by GOD’s grace that “true believers” are transformed into “new creatures” and again given the potential to live a truly righteous existence.
It is in this day that every human being can experience salvation because of what CHRIST JESUS did sacrificially, culminating on the cross, if they choose to. Through CHRIST JESUS, GOD allows us to partake in an “imputed righteousness” that we could not have possibly achieved on our own. It is an utter tragedy whenever one of GOD’s greatest creation (mankind), allows his or her hard-heartedness, to reduce the meaning of GOD’s grace in their lives, to being of “non-effect”, or, as having no transforming value at all.
Taking up at verse 3, Paul shifts his thoughts back (2 Corinthians 4:8-12) so that he might elaborate further on some of the many hardships that serious Christians must suffer, if they are to earnestly follow in the path, or footsteps of CHRIST JESUS, our LORD. Here Paul says that we must live in such a way that no one can be hindered from finding the LORD, due to the fact that we may have publicly, or privately, exhibited ungodly behavior to the world we’re seeking to convert (Vs.3-4).
As Christians, we take on a given responsibility to prove to the world that Christianity really does produce the best men and women. And oftentimes that must be done while under duress from the very same worldly people that we are trying to convert. Here in verses 4b-5 Paul shares with us some of the ways he, himself had suffered for the sake of ministering the Gospel to the world.
Paul says that he, and those who traveled with him, had been beaten, been put in jail, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. In short, perhaps Paul is cautioning us that, a Christian’s faith has to be proven and confirmed by the way they react to, and endure through their sufferings and persecutions, just as JESUS proved the genuineness of HIS faith under HIS FATHER GOD, during HIS earthly assignment.
In verse 6 Paul mentions six ways by which a Christian can prove himself, or herself of great value under GOD, and at the same time, relieve any tensions that may exist in the community of GOD. Here Paul says that we can achieve this by our;
· Sincere love
· And, by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT
Christians must learn to faithfully and correctly preach and teach the Gospel so that GOD’s power will continue to work in us. We must operate using the righteousness of CHRIST as a weapon to, both, defend ourselves against, and to attack, the unseen demons who may influence people all around us. We have to serve GOD whether people honor us or despise us, slander us or praise us. We have to remain honest, even when people call us impostors, simply because they do not want to live by the message of GOD that we peach and deliver (Vs.7-8).
Even though Paul was well-known he was sometimes treated as an unknown by his opponents in the Church. Oftentimes they dismissed him as being poor, sorrowful, and useless. However, in the opinion of GOD (the only opinion that counts), Paul’s servant-hood was proven genuine by his willingness to suffer hardships that sometimes brought him to within an inch of his life. He was able to joyfully withstand heartache, and even though he was poor financially, he was able to give much spiritual riches to those who accepted it. And while he may not have owned anything, with GOD, he had all that he needed in life, and more. He was successful under GOD because he was willing to open up his heart to the people he was called to minister to, and as a result of his open-heartedness, and GOD’s grace, he was ultimately able to remove tension and strife from the assembly of GOD at Corinth, at least, for a time (Vs.9-13).
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website