Thru the Bible – Day 311

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Day 311 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue in Second Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 5Paul refers to the present, mortal body as a tent, whereas he speaks of the future resurrected body as a house. Although we are presently clothed in our mortal flesh, we will one day be further clothed with a glorified body that will swallow up our mortality. Gospel-believing Christians can experience the reality of this resurrection hope even now through the indwelling of the Spirit, who is “the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it” (Ephesians 1:14).

The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is inextricably tied to the resurrection of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:14), which ensures that death itself has been nullified. It is a Gospel promise. The Believer does not need to fear death but can confidently know that it has been defeated (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Whatever suffering, trial, burden, fear, or discouragement you may experience, it is not as tragic, painful, or final as death. Thus, to know that Jesus has defeated death is to know that He has taken away the ultimate sting of all our present sufferings. To believe that God’s permanent, death-defeating promise is more defining than our momentary experiences is to walk by faith, not by sight.

At the core of the good news of the Gospel is what has often been called the “great exchange” or “imputation.” Our sin is imputed (reckoned, accounted) to Jesus as He is made to be sin for us; His righteousness is imputed to us as we receive His righteous status. He takes our sin; He gives us His righteousness. This shocking transfer lies at the heart of the Christian faith and is as clear here in 2 Corinthians 5 as anywhere in the Bible. This transfer is not a dry, cold matter, however. An individual is reconciled to God and made a new creation in Jesus on the basis of this exchange. Furthermore, this power leads the Believer to become a sacrificial minister of reconciliation, as our love for Jesus compels us to speak of Him despite opposition and affliction.

We are connected vitally and legally through our union with Jesus because He imputed His perfect, righteous life of obedience into our account. He imputed not only innocence but also righteousness, not only pardon but also perfection. He not only stood condemned in our place as a punishment bearer; He also stood in our place as our law keeper. Jesus not only died the death that we should have died; He also lived the life that we should have lived. All has been taken care of.

Things drastically change in light of the exchange of Jesus’ righteousness for our sin. Our legal standing before God has shifted from that of unrighteousness to righteousness. The status of our relationship with God has moved from conflict to reconciliation, ensuring peace and communion with God. Our very being is transferred from the impending death of this world to the promised life of God’s new creational order, leading us to an increased appetite for that which bring glory to God and a growing distaste for that which does not. Finally, our perspective is altered so that we no longer focus on outward appearances but on a radical interior radiance.

How does is chapter help you understand what Jesus meant when He declared “It is finished!”?

 

2 Corinthians 6Paul wants the Corinthian Believers to open their hearts to him so that they can receive the grace of God immediately. To accomplish this, Paul commends himself by way of paradoxical inversion (also 2:12–17; 4:7–18). First, Paul’s circumstantial hardships are evidence of the enduring strength he receives from Jesus, who Himself endured afflictions, beatings, and ultimately death. Second, Paul’s internal spiritual realities stand in stark contrast to the external, “boasted mission” of the “super-apostles” who had captured the church’s attention (2 Corinthians 11:5, 12). Third, even Paul’s external displays are spiritual in nature—all dependent upon God’s word and power. Finally, the apparent tragedies are overshadowed by the actual victories that Paul is experiencing in the Gospel.

No one wants to have “restricted” affections, but that is exactly what we find when we grow suspicious of the Gospel. The result is that our present circumstances overwhelm us, our internal spiritual life becomes dull, our attention shifts to external performance, and we live by what apparently seems true rather than by what actually is true. When we embrace the upside-down realities of the Gospel by faith, all of this is set right. The Gospel gives us wide-open hearts toward individuals who approach us with narrow, closed hearts. We should pray for heart-widening, upside-down, unrestricted Gospel affections, as we “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

We are the beneficiaries of God’s new community. Through the crucified body of Jesus, we have been given access to the presence of God along with other Believers. By the work of the Spirit, we are all being gloriously transformed (2 Corinthians 3:7–18). Here, Paul calls us to live lives that are in accord with these new covenant realities (based not on external conformity to the law but on heart commitments that result in true holiness), particularly in our relationships with unbelievers.

The image of being unequally yoked draws to mind two animals unsuited to work together. A large ox and a small mule are not meant to plow side by side; they will consistently be moving in opposing directions. Similarly, Believers and unbelievers have different operating principles and aims. Just as Jesus has nothing to do with Satan, and light has nothing to do with darkness, so the Believer must not be intimately allied, yoked, and in partnership with an unbeliever. This does not mean that we are to have no relationships with unbelievers (or else evangelism would be impossible), but we are not to be in partnerships that allow principles or practices contrary to Jesus to control us.

The basis for obedience to this command is not moralism (living morally in order to be loved by God) but the Gospel (living morally because we are already loved by God). We are to be set apart since we have these promises (2 Corinthians 7:1). The grounds for our obedience are God’s new covenant promises that are fulfilled through Jesus by the Spirit. We should refuse to identify and partner with idols because “we are the temple of the living God,” not because we are meritoriously becoming the temple of the living God. Grace is the fuel for our obedience.

How does this help you see the difference between “moralism” and the Gospel?

 

What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?

 

Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.

All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.

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