Thursday, April 27, 2017

Il Corinthians 5

"So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it."
II Corinthians 5:9

How much time do you and I spend trying to please other people?  If we love someone we will try to show our love for them, and we will try to do things for them that bring them joy.  Our main joy and priority in life must be found in pleasing the Lord, however.  It is God's purpose for our lives that we live for His glory and that we find our ultimate joy in Him alone.  Paul said in ll Corinthians 5:9, "So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it." We must seek to please the Lord in our words, thoughts, habits, attitudes, and deeds.  It must be our consuming desire to moment by moment live in the center of the Lord's will and to please Him in all things.

Earlier in the chapter in ll Corinthians 5 in the last part of verse two Paul spoke of His and every believer's "longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling."  Every believer knows that the moments of this life on earth are fleeting and temporary and that eternal joys await us in the future. Only in eternity will we be free from sin and its consequences in our lives and in our world, and only then will we be completely free to experience uninhibited joy in our love relationship with the Lord.

Until then, however,  ll Corinthians 5:7 reminds us that  "we live by faith, not by sight."  As we live our lives here on earth we also "make it our goal" to glorify and please the Lord in all areas of our lives (ll Corinthians 5:9).  We seek to avoid self-importance, pride, and the foolish pursuit of worldly things as our source of fulfillment.  Instead our goal and priority must be our love relationship with the Lord and our desire to serve Him with all our hearts.

We say with Paul in ll Corinthians 5:14-15, "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, and therefore all died.  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"  The love of Christ must so consume us that it controls, compels, and urges us to live our lives with purpose and to live them only for the glory of the Lord.

The Lord Jesus died for our sins, and He made us His children.  Because of His atoning death on the cross we are new creatures in Him.  ll Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"  As new creatures in Christ we have new attitudes, hew identities in Christ, and new purpose.  That purpose according to ll Corinthians 5:20 is to live for Jesus Christ's glory and be "Christ's ambassadors" to the world. By our lives we must create a desire in others to come to the Lord Jesus for His forgiveness and His grace.

II Corinthians 5:21 says, "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."  The Lord Jesus died to pay the punishment for our sins. Jesus Christ also lived a perfectly righteous life for us that we were unable to live. So Christ's righteousness is now given to us.  We now have a righteous standing before the Almighty God because of Christ's righteousness given to us.  We must grow in practical holiness also, however, and we must begin to more and more reflect the Lord Jesus in our lives.  It must be our consuming desire to live for the glory of the Lord.  We must increasingly think as God would want us to think and act the way God would want us to act.  This is God's purpose and will for our lives.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

II Corinthians 4

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness' made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair."  II Corinthians 4:6-8

"Therefore we do not lose heart---For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  II Corinthians 4:16-18

Do you ever feel discouraged?  Do you ever feel like everything is falling apart, and you do not know where to turn next?  This is actually a good place to be, because it is then that the Lord can begin to do His work in you.  The Lord is our great strength giver.  He has called us to be His servants, and He will give us the strength to live for Him day by day and moment by moment!

We need never be discouraged; because the Lord in His mercy has redeemed us from sin, chosen us to be His child and servant, and is busy about the task of transforming us into His likeness! Those who are not believers and do not belong to the Lord truly do not understand the joy that we have in the Lord.  The devil has blinded their minds, so they cannot see the Lord's glory.  They cannot see that Jesus is the very Son of God!  We need to be eternally thankful to the Lord for choosing us as His children and for being our Lord and Savior.

II Corinthians 4:6b tells us that He "made  His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."  What a priceless treasure!  What a priceless treasure we have in our salvation!  What a priceless treasure we have in belonging to the Lord! What a priceless treasure we have in the Lord Jesus Christ living in our hearts and lives!  Praise His name!

ll Corinthians 4:7 says, "we have this treasure in jars of clay."  In Bible times it was customary to hid treasures and valuable items in clay jars which had very little value or beauty in themselves.Thus attention was not attracted to the jars; and the valuable contents were protected.  We have the Lord's treasure in us who are unworthy and frail humans, so that His glory will be shown in us. Through our insufficiency the Lord chooses to reveal His all-sufficiency, grander, power, and greatness!  We are nothing in ourselves, but He chooses to fill us with His all-surpassing power! The more we realize that we are nothing in ourselves, the more He can infuse us with His power.

We need to reflect the Lord Jesus and His beauty in our lives.  We must ask the Lord to break us of self, self-will, and self-reliance; so that His light and power and glory shines forth in our lives. This is the road to the Lord's best for you and me!  It is the road to joy and spiritual prosperity!

ll Corinthians 4:8 tells us that in life's trials and troubles we often feel "hard pressed on every side" and "perplexed."  As His children, however, we are never "crushed." because the Lord is with us all the way.  We will never be abandoned by Him!  The frailty of our humanness makes us more dependent on His strength and thus reveals His life in us in a greater way!  We can believe with absolute certainty that the Lord will lead us through this life and through death and to eternity! Any difficulties you or I may experience in this life are nothing compared to the glories that we will experience with the Lord in His presence.  We must fix our eyes not on the things we see, namely life's difficulties or material things, but  on the Lord Jesus and on eternal realities!