29th November: 2 Corinthians 5:11-9:15

2 Corinthians

5:11-7:1  –  ‘Reconciled’ to God through Christ, we have received ‘the ministry of reconciliation’. Saved by Him, we are to ‘work with Him’. We are ‘not to accept the grace of God in vain’ by living for ourselves. We are to be ‘ambassadors for Christ’. We must proclaim the urgent message of salvation – ‘now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation’. We must call men and women to respond to God’s message of salvation: ‘Be reconciled to God’ (5:18-6:2). If we are to be effective ‘ambassadors for Christ’, we must dedicate our lives to Him: ‘Let us cleanse ourselves… and make holiness perfect in the fear of God’ (7:1). Without this heartfelt commitment to godly living, we cannot really serve the Lord at all. Our wrong lives will drown out our ‘right’ words. We need true lives as well as ‘true’ words.

7:2-8:7  –  We may face difficult circumstances. We may experience much suffering. In all of this there is one thing we must never forget: ‘God… comforts the downcast’ (7:6). He lifts us up when we are down. He enables us to ‘excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness, in love, in giving’ (8:7). How are we to excel in everything? We must ‘give ourselves to the Lord’ (8:5). Everything else flows from this. We are to ‘give ourselves in devoted service to others’ (12; 8:4-5). Where does this spirit of ‘rich generosity’ come from? It comes from God, from ‘the grace that God has given’ to us (8:1-2). It comes to us as we give ourselves to Him. Before we can ‘excel in this grace of giving’, we must receive ‘from His fullness, grace upon grace’ (8:7; John 1:16).

8:8-9:15  –  How are we to be ‘cheerful’ in giving ourselves to the Lord (9:7)? How are we to be confident that ‘God is able to provide us with every blessing in abundance’ (9:8)? Before we ever think of giving ourselves to God, we must look at all He has given to us. We look away from ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘You know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ…’ (8:9). We look at Him and we say, in our hearts, ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!’ (9:15). Can our giving to Him even begin to compare with His giving to us? We give to Him as those who have first received from Him. In his giving, we see His love. Our giving expresses our love, our response to His love: ‘We love because He first loved us’ (1 John 4:19). Rejoice in His love. Thank Him – for ‘every blessing in abundance’!

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