“He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” – 2 Corinthians 5:5 (ESV)
One fact that we can know and rejoice in is that God has plans for us who have believed and accepted the free gift of salvation. We are reminded of this in our verse. God has and is continuing to prepare us for living with Him in heaven. It is God who had made this happen, for there is nothing we can do to receive the Holy Spirit who is our guaranteed promise. We realize that His plans for us are really beyond our ability to comprehend. God knows, and that is the reason He has given us His Spirit. In part the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to show us a bit of what heaven will be like. Even that we take by faith for our eyes have not seen, our ears have not heard, all that God has prepared for us who love Him. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives guarantees eternal blessedness for us in heaven. Paul emphatically states that the believer’s heavenly existence will come according to God’s sovereign purpose. Let’s be sure our hearts are open to what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us about heaven.
“For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” 2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NASB)
If you have ever been in a church service or revival meeting there is a good chance you’ve heard someone cry out “Amen!” They are agreeing with the speaker or preacher who hit on a point that means much to them. In some churches, the minister needs the congregation to be giving him Amens. Although the Apostle Paul is writing in the Greek language he transliterates a common Hebrew word of affirmation. The word is used by Jesus when He would say, ‘verily’, or ‘truly, truly.’ Amen, amen, our God is very much involved in our lives. Today’s verses remind us of this truth. Paul’s, ministry was blessed by God in many places for many years. But Paul tells us the he didn’t do any of this by himself. He recognized that God was involved and directing his life and work. This is true for us too. God is involved in our lives. We don’t live by ourselves. When our faith stands firm in Christ it is because God establishes us to stand firm. And more than that, he seals us with His Spirit as a promise to keep us established in our faith.
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (ESV)
When hear of a horrible act we might hear some say “I can’t believe what this world is coming to.” We like to remember; we like to think our world was a better world, more fair and more just “back then.” Not so for there have always been those who serve the enemy of Jesus Christ. This verse is the Apostle Paul’s response and defense against the false claims and lies that were stirring up the believers in Corinth. Some self-named super-apostles were nothing but troublemakers working against Paul’s message of the Gospel of Jesus. By arguing that all people by nature look for the truth and strive to do good, their assertion was if the message is rejected it is because it is not true or not delivered properly by the right messengers. Paul sets the facts out that when the gospel is not believed by those to whom it is preached, the ‘god of this world’ (John 12:31) had veiled the light of the gospel and it could not be understood. Their unbelief was aided by Satan, the god of this Age (Ephesians. 2:2). Although defeated by Christ (Hebrews. 2:14), the enemy Satan continues his hold over the present world.
“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 God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)
Our Father in heaven has done so very much for us. He is the God of light in many ways and our verse reminds us that He brings that light into our hearts. The Apostle Paul makes a direct reference to God as Creator, who commanded physical light into existence (Genesis 1:3). The God who created physical light in the universe creates supernatural light in the soul and bring believers from the kingdom of darkness to His kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). The light is expressed as “the knowledge of the glory of God.” That means to know that Christ is God incarnate. To be saved, one must understand that the glory of God shone in Jesus Christ and He drives darkness from our lives. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we don’t have to live in that darkness or with it in our hearts? God has made his light shine in our hearts and it is a glorious light for us who have believed. Be encouraged today as you recognize that God is a God of glory and He wants us to know of His glory. It is a promise that will bring light to our hearts and to our lives.
“Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.”– 2 Corinthians 5:8-9 (ESV)
Because heaven is a better place than earth, the apostle Paul would rather have been there, with God. This sentiment simply states Paul’s feelings and longings. There is nothing wrong and much is right to desire to enter heaven in the presence of the Lord. What might you choose to have instead of being in the presence of Jesus Christ right now? Is there anything that would hold you fast to this world? We are not suggesting that anyone should attempt to change God’s plan or timing. He has us here for a purpose and that is to please Him in all we think, say and do. To tell others of His grace. God’s timing for us is perfect. We will be here right up until the moment God has decided we are to be in His presence. And when we are there all that we hold dear now on this earth will be gone from our desires. Someday, we will be transformed to be like the body Jesus has after His resurrection. But now, we have our goal to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ and help others find Him as their Lord and Savior.
“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:6-7 (ESV)
True believers in Jesus Christ are confident with respect to the future even though we do not know what the future is going to be in this world. It is the very presence of the Spirit in the lives of believers that provides this confidence with the promises of God. Eventually our time and life on this earth will come to an end, when it does, we will be with the Lord. Now we are at home in a world that is not our own and even our bodies will someday be done away. Also it means we not in the Lord’s presence physically. ‘Being at home’ and ‘being away from home’ refer respectively to being in one’s own country and being a stranger living abroad. In other words, the image of the external being that we observe, is passive and passing, while the internal provision of faith is active and abiding. We focus our attention not on visible things that are temporal but on those that are invisible and timeless. We live not by what we can see in this world but by the faith God has given us to believe.
“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15-16 (ESV)
It is true that the physical bodies are by nature in a steady decay. There is no miracle or magical method that will arrest what the Apostle Paul calls ‘wasting away.’ That fact does not stop our unending search for renewal; attempting to find ways to slow the physical decline and maintain the vitality of youth. Our verses come in this chapter just after Paul has detailed what he has experienced in his body on account of his effort to bring the gospel and teaching of Jesus Christ to them. All that has happened has been for the sake of those who were served in Paul’s ministry. In other words, when the gospel enters the hearts and lives of an ever-increasing number of people, God’s grace abounds. These are fellow believers who begin to lead unbelievers to Christ. And as a result, all believers now live to please God and express their thanks to him. The effect of physical decay on Paul is that he does not lose heart and we shouldn’t either. We are promised that the eternal part of us which is within our soul and spirit is renewed every day.
“He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 5:5 (NASB)
Context is important. The passage in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 explains what Paul wrote but was made part the previous chapter, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. One fact that we can know and rejoice in is that God has plans for those who have believed and accepted the free gift. We are reminded of this truth in our verse today. God has prepared us for living with Him in heaven. We realize that his plans for us are really beyond our ability to comprehend. Because God knows that, He has given us His Holy Spirit. Paul writes that God has prepared us “for this very thing,” but what is that thing? It is to be covered with a resurrected body and the future glory that God already has prepared for us. To put it differently, God has for us, an existence of which the unspoiled life of Adam and Eve in paradise is a reflection. God has given us the Holy Spirit as a pledge concerning matters that will be revealed in the future. Now we are receiving a taste of the Spirit but in the hereafter we will receive the full allotment that God has in store for us.
“For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you. Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” – 2 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NASB)
The Apostle Paul’s testimony giving God credit for enabling him to press on. It was a mystery for Paul. It was once, a challenge for Christ on the cross. Jesus had at his command the unlimited power of God. It was His but nevertheless He willingly chose to follow the course of weakness to the cross. He refused to use any of His divine nature to soften the pain and suffering while he, the Son of God, hung on the cross bearing the rejection of God the Father for the sins of all in the world. Paul reminds us that Jesus rose from the dead by the power of God. In His resurrection the magnitude of the untapped power was displayed. The truth in this verse is that, as Jesus rose from the dead by God’s power, it is by that very same power we can live and serve Him in faith. We may feel weak and unable to live as we ought, but we know that we have the promise of God’s power available to us. In that power we can do what He wants us to do. Let’s remember that as we live this day.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17.” (ESV)
It is all the non-believers in the world who should convince us who believe in God Almighty that we have a different spirit than we had before we believed; for by God’s grace and because of the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, we became Christians. As we read in John 3:6 where Jesus explained to his night-time visitor, Nikodemus “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” A true believer can soon tell whether he is born of the Spirit by the change in his life. Just as we considered a few days ago, our new spiritual birth brings to us new love. Our love results in joyfulness. Joyfulness fills our heart and we have peace. Our peace is present in establishing our patience. Patiently we offer kindness to all. Kindness develops into goodness. We advance in faithfulness because of the goodness. We learn self-control from faithfully trusting. None of this fruit happens if we do not first receive a new-spirit from God who has given us a new creation and done away with the old. What blessed promises.