“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” – 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NASB)
The Trinity — There are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. All participate in securing the believer. We find the promise in today’s passage that first of all, it’s God the Father who established us together in Christ the Son. It’s God’s gift as the Holy Spirit who has anointed us and who has marked us with His seal. The one who has established us, anointed us, sealed us, given us the guarantee of the Spirit is none other than God. So, the reason we are secure is because we’ve been secured in God the Son. Consider 2 Timothy 2:19. “the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal” ⸺now here’s the seal that seals our ultimate redemption ⸺ “The Lord knows those who are His”, and “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” This seal is a symbol of ownership. The divine seal is proven by two characteristics. The first is that The Lord knows those who he has called and belong to Him. The second is our new way of life
[Edited 10/22/2022 11:45 AM]
“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven..” – 2 Corinthians 12:2 (NASB)
Paul was so overwhelmed by a heavenly vision that he did not know the precise details. However, whether he was caught up bodily into heaven, or his spirit was temporarily separated from his body, was not important. This may be a passage that is rather different than most we select. But it gives us a clue about heaven and help answer the question “Where is heaven?” It is up. Heaven is up. Paul says he was caught up into the third heaven. Jesus reminded us that when He came to earth, He descended, and when He left to go back to heaven, He ascended, (Ephesians 4:10). It’s up. He came down and went back up. The angels told the disciples that this same Jesus who is taken up from you shall so come in like manner as you’ve seen Him go (Acts 1:11). When the Lord returns He will come down from heaven and we will be caught up into heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). John was called to “Come up here and I’ll show you heaven.” (Revelation 4:1) When two witnesses during the Tribulation are killed they are resurrected and called to “Come up here” (Revelation 11:12). Heaven is up!
“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. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (ESV)
Our promises found in our passage include one much the same as the words Paul wrote to the Philippian church toward the end of his ministry. This letter to the church at Corinth however, was not written while he was in prison. In these verses Paul was not saying he had absolutely no contact; there is prayer, the indwelling Spirit, and fellowship through the Word. Paul was expressing a strong yearning to be at home with his Lord. We find the Psalmist expressing the same sentiments in Psalm 23. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4) There’s no place that we go when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death where God absent from us He is with us. Heaven is where God is. “Surely … I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6) So where is the house of the Lord? It’s where God dwells and that is in heaven. The hope of the psalmist was to be absent from the body to be present with the Lord.
“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)
In Christ Jesus each believer becomes a new creation and a child of God. We are more than friends of God for through adopted we are children of God. In Christ we become fellow heirs and fellow member of the body of believers. (Ephesians 3:6) The two words ‘in Christ’, cover a brief but very profound statement of the immeasurable significance ⸺ that of the believer’s redemption. For this, the believer is accepted in Him (Christ) with whom God alone is well pleased. As believers our future assurance is in Him who is the resurrection to eternal life and the sole guarantor of our inheritance in heaven. As believers in Christ, we are granted participation in the divine nature of Christ, the everlasting Word (2 Peter 1:4). We are not divine but Christ is and in us shares His divine nature with us. We have been made new through new birth spiritually. We can with the help of Christ in us be done with the old ways of doing things and embrace our new spiritual perception. The powerful truth is that in Christ we now live for what is eternal and not the temporal things.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
Here the Apostle Paul summarized the heart of the gospel, that which he stated was ‘the message of reconciliation” (v.19). This explains how sinners such as us can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Two actions by God the Father upon Jesus, the Son of God resulted in the fulfillment of the promised destruction of sin in Genesis 3:15. Jesus the sinless Son of God, knew no sin was made to carry our sin on our behalf. God the Father, using the principle which is called imputation, treated Christ as if He were a sinner though He was not, and had Him die as a substitute to pay the penalty for the sins of those who believe in Him. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” v.19 “God by His own will and design used His Son, the only acceptable and perfect sacrifice, as the means to reconcile sinners to Himself.” “On the cross, Jesus did not become a sinner (as some suggest), but remained as holy as ever. He was treated as if He were guilty of all the sins ever committed by all who would ever believe, though He committed none.”*
* John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible., (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), 2 Co 5:21.
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” – 2 Corinthians 13:11 (ESV)
We are living in a contentious world and it is no surprise or anything new. Yes, we like to think there have been time that the people of this world were more at peace but not truly. An honest realistic look at history from the time of Genesis 3 our world has been a place with more danger and more conflict than peace. The peace we experience worldwide is temporary, existing in small parts of the world. We may have peace between ourselves for a season but sin destroys that too. As believers in our Lord Jesus Christ we can have peace with God and can have sustainable peace and harmony between each other. It is our calling and it honors God bringing Glory to Him. The apostle Paul in this verse exhorts faith believers in Corinth to aim for restoration of peace. We start by having an attitude of thankfulness and rejoicing. We will accomplish our aim as we comfort one another and agree with one another, we will live in peace – that means giving up the selfishness and striving for our own way within Christ’s fellowship of believers. This promise is for such harmony with God’s love.
“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 1:21-22 (NASB)
We can be sure that our God is involved in what happens in our lives as Christians. It is Christ’s saving work of grace that gives believers stability and places them on a firm foundation in Him. Romans 16:25 also speaks to us about who has established us. “Now to Him who is able to establish you…” We all pay special attention to ‘our things’ large or small and they become important treasures. Our verse reminds us that God thinks of us as belonging to Him. For that reason He is actively involved in our lives to maintain that relationship, helping us to stand firm in Christ. He has given us His Holy Spirit to live within us and also to be our guarantee that we belong to Him. Paul in defending his authenticity gives a clear reference to the work of the three members of the Trinity. The authenticity of Paul’s spiritual life and that of every genuine believer is verified by these four divine works (“establishes us,” “anointed us,” “sealed us,” “gave us the Spirit”) accomplished in their lives. Let’s be thankful for the pledge of ownership Jesus has given to us in the Holy Spirit.
“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)
Let’s think for a moment on what we learned about yesterday. Faith believers in Jesus Christ have the promise of a new forever perfect body. Compared, for visual purposes, as getting out of our raggedy rotting clothing and putting on our permanent perfect and glorious garment. This passage states emphatically that the believer’s heavenly existence will come to pass according to God’s sovereign promise and purpose. We have complete and perfect confidence of this promise when we recognize and believe that God has given to us the Holy Spirit as a permanent indwelling presence. That’s His guarantee to us. Other words for the same meaning call it a pledge. Like the times when we promise with a pledge support to another person or organization, we’re obligated to fulfill that pledge. Also stated in Ephesians 1:13-14 “having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge.” Paul also stated this earlier in 2 Corinthians 1:22. There is no plausible reason that God cannot be trusted to fulfill this promise to us. It’s an absolute guarantee, a pledge as good as a seal with His name embed in it.
For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” – 2 Corinthians 5:4 (ESV)
Reflecting back to the promise verse three days ago, we considered what Paul the Apostle meant by “to die is gain.” In our world, we nearly always consider death to be a loss. Loss of life, family, loved ones…whatever is precious to us is lost to us when we die. Paul restates that he could hardly wait to be in his glorified body. Paul wrote about fixing his eyes “not on what is seen but on what is unseen” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Paul wanted the fullness, through the fulfillment of all that God had planned for him in eternal life, when we lose all that is earthly and human as we exit this world. He states this by making the allusion that the temporary decaying part of us being swallowed up by what is eternal life. We will have immortal imperishable spiritual bodies in heaven. Perhaps a true loss for us happens when we prefer what we have now over what we will have been promised. Now, our life is poorly dressed with the rags of humiliation and hardship. Let’s focus on what we will be dressed in and not treasure our poor present state of being.
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,” – 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NASB)
If you ever feel burdened down because of your witness and faith in God, this is a passage for you. Within a broader context, we learn from the Apostle Paul that he experienced many great and difficult circumstance as he carried about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s add two more verses (8-9) from earlier in this chapter where Paul details the tough times he had. “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” And yet he describes these as ‘momentary’ and ‘light afflictions.’ How can he say this? The Greek words for “light” mean “a weightless trifle” and “affliction” refers to intense pressure. From a human perspective, Paul’s own testimony lists a seemingly unbearable litany of sufferings and persecutions he endured throughout his life. The Greek word for “weight” refers to a heavy mass. For Paul, declares the future glory he would experience with the Lord far outweighed any suffering he experienced in this world. This is a promise from God. And a promise we can depend on to help us walk according to our calling in Christ.