Read thru New Testament Devotional – September 13, 2017

Paul’s defense of his Apostolic ministry, part 1 (3:1-6:10)-continued
2 Corinthians 5
2 Corinthians 4:8-5:5-Paul’s defense of his Apostolic ministry is seen in the degree that they are willing to go in order to fulfill their calling-continued.
2 Corinthians 5:1-15-Paul says that he "knows" that when this "earthly tent" dies, he will have "a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (:1). Paul is saying that the resurrection will not be to a disembodied state...a quasi-ethereal, ghostly state...but there will be a resurrection of the body. “Unclothed” does not mean to be disembodied, to have be without the body...but, it means that the limitations of this physical body will be done away with when it is resurrected. God has given us His Spirit as a pledge, a down payment...proof of what is yet to come (:5).

Earnest (Noun):
originally, "earnest-money" deposited by the purchaser and forfeited if the purchase was not completed, was probably a Phoenician word, introduced into Greece. In general usage it came to denote "a pledge" or "earnest" of any sort; in the NT it is used only of that which is assured by God to believers; it is said of the Holy Spirit as the Divine "pledge" of all their future blessedness, 2Cr 1:22; 5:5; in Eph 1:14, particularly of their eternal inheritance. In the Sept., Gen 38:17, 18, 20. In modern Greek arrabona is an "engagement ring."
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, NASB

What a beautiful picture. The Holy Spirit is given to us (in part) as an engagement ring. A constant reminder that there is yet more to come in our relationship with God. It is God’s promise that while we are in the body...we are only in a temporary state. One day, our physical bodies will be resurrected...transformed and made suitable for Heaven. This realization that we are not all that we will be and that our relationship with God is not all that it will be...creates a desire in our hearts for the future (:8).

The realization of the resurrection of the body, the abiding presence of the Spirit, and the reality that we will one day give an account of our life to God (:10)...should encourage us in our struggle of this be pleasing to God (:9). Paul says that he hopes that this attitude is evident both to God, and to men...and we do all we can to “persuade” others of this truth (:11-13).

Obedience, Obedient, Obey:
"to persuade, to win over," in the Passive and Middle Voices, "to be persuaded, to listen to, to obey," is so used with this meaning, in the Middle Voice, e.g., in Act 5:36-37 (in Act 5:40, Passive Voice, "they agreed"); Rom 2:8; Gal 5:7; Hbr 13:17; Jam 3:3. The "obedience" suggested is not by submission to authority, but resulting from persuasion. "Peitho and pisteuo" 'to trust,' are closely related etymologically; the difference in meaning is that the former implies the obedience that is produced by the latter, cp. Hbr 3:18, 19, where the disobedience of the Israelites is said to be the evidence of their unbelief. Faith is of the heart, invisible to men; obedience is of the conduct and may be observed. When a man obeys God he gives the only possible evidence that in his heart he believes God. Of course it is persuasion of the truth that results in faith (we believe because we are persuaded that the thing is true, a thing does not become true because it is believed), but peitho, in NT suggests an actual and outward result of the inward persuasion and consequent faith." *
[* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 254, 255.] Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, NASB

Paul says that it is the love of Christ that controls the life of the believer. We are no longer the person we used to be, but a new person because of our relationship with Christ (:14).
2 Corinthians 5:16-21-Paul’s defense of his Apostolic ministry is seen in the fact that God gave him his ministry...and that it is not of human origin.

Because a person who has come to Christ is controlled by the love of Christ (:14) and no longer lives for himself, but for God (:15)...we don’t continue to view them as they were before they came to Christ (:16). They are a “new creature”...their old way of living is gone and they have a new way of living (:17).

God is one who is responsible for all of this change in us. In this new relationship, we are given a new purpose, the same purpose which Christ had...the ministry of reconciliation (the need for sinners to be reconciled to God, :18). We are now ambassadors for Christ...and as such, our lives should reflect Him and the things that He did. Paul encourages the Corinthians (God speaking through Him) to be reconciled to God...and the means to do that is Christ (:21). God took our sin and literally made it Jesus’ sin...and, He took Jesus’ righteousness and literally made it our righteousness. This is the “great exchange”!

Prayer: Lord, let me be controlled by Your love. And then I will be the representative of You on earth, that I should be. Let Your righteousness live in and through that others may see Your glory.

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