“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.
“Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 (NASB)
When we look at the first verse in our passage, Paul teaches that God is love and, He loves a cheerful giver. What an important bit to remember when planning gifts for Christian work. Then, the next verse Paul teaches that God is all-powerful. That is, God expresses his love to his people through his power. And why? In order to help us go even further in faith in giving. Let’s now, look at how Paul expresses this. The concept ‘all’ appears five times: all grace, all sufficiency, all things, all times, every good work. Paul describes the infinite goodness and greatness of God. God has power “to make all grace abound toward you.” He involves Himself in details of our lives, even in our decisions to give for a certain cause. In the service of the Lord grace brings more grace to the table. The believer’s grace in joyful giving can hardly be compared with God’s abounding grace to the believer for God showers his love on the joyful donor, who is unable to match God’s grace. He grants the gift of salvation, spiritual gifts, the fruit of the Spirit, and material needs as blessings.
“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,” 2 Corinthians 3:5 (NASB)
The Apostle Paul was thinking about the results of his ministry in the city of Corinth. Many people had been brought into the family of God while Paul was preaching and teaching in that city. As he writes this letter he wanted to be sure to acknowledge that it was God who deserves the credit for the results of his work. Too often we are tempted to consider our Christian work is the result of our own efforts. We all need to consider and be careful to give our Lord credit for His work in our lives. God is involved in anything of value in our lives. We need to recognize that without God’s working in and through us nothing of eternal worth is accomplished. Let’s remember the promise that our ability, our sufficiency, and our adequacy come from God. He wants to use us to do His work, to do something worthwhile in life. Let’s allow Him to use us today. The words to the hymn, “To God Be The Glory” helps us to sing out the truth of God’s competence and ability to provide our adequacy in this life. “Great things He has done.”
“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.” 2 Corinthians 4:15 (ESV )
Gratitude is a positive and joyful emotion and especially so when it is for what God has for us. We have a sense of joyful appreciation for his grace. Does that mean, in a sense, we are still the beneficiaries of the very emotion of gratitude. By its very nature, gratitude exalts the giver. When we feel thankful, we acknowledge our need and God’s fullness, the riches of his glory. Just as when we humble ourselves and exalt the service provider in when we say, “Thank you,” so we humble ourselves and exalt God when we even feel gratitude to him. The difference, of course, is that we really are infinitely in debt to God for his grace, and everything he does for us is free and undeserved. The wonderful thing about the gospel is that the response it requires from us for God’s glory is most natural and; namely, thankfulness for grace. God’s all-supplying glory in giving and our humble gladness in receiving are not in competition. Joyful thankfulness glorifies God. A life that gives glory to God for his grace and a life of deepest gladness are the same life. And what makes them one is thankfulness.
Thanks to Desiring God and John Piper for this contribution.
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV)
Our Father in heaven has done so very much for us. Our Bible verse today reminds us of one of His acts that has affected our lives in a meaningful way. That act is God’s creation of light in the very beginning. He is a God of light in many ways and our verse reminds us that He brings light into our hearts. Without the light of God in our lives we are filled with darkness. In the beginning when the foundations of the world were created, the dark world was lit up when God said, ‘Let there be light’. More exactly, daytime was distinguished from nighttime by the creation of light. Without light, there is only darkness. We can know how wonderful it is 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. Let’s be encouraged today as we 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.
“ You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11–12. (ESV)
Do you ever consider how our thankfulness to God is a sacrifice pleasing to Him. Context is important in our selected verses. The Apostle Paul in this second letter to the believers in Corinth is encouraging them to be generous with what God has given them to live on. Paul was collecting offerings to help the saints in Jerusalem who were facing a pressing need under persecution. Paul teaches us two reasons for giving generously. First: A principle holds true in both the natural and the spiritual spheres: the size of a harvest corresponds to the range of the sowing. One can enjoy all their grain by consuming it, or they may reduce their store of it by sowing it and later reaping a bountiful harvest. Another reason for giving generously is that God loves us generosity. God esteems not the size of the gift but the giver’s attitude, sincerity (not reluctantly), choice (not under compulsion), and joyful willingness of a cheerful giver. The more one gives to others, the more they are enriched, and thus they can be generous in giving. Such a generous spirit toward others results in more and more people giving God the gift of thanksgiving.
“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NASB)
Context is important all the time an especially for our verst today. It comes in the midst of Paul’s defense of his apostleship to the believers in Corinth. Such is our promise today. This is God’s universal purpose for all the suffering Christians have in life. Suffering develops our trust and contentment in God as we learn to have less dependence on ourselves and the ways of this world. Paul stresses for us, that in our sufferings we find the glory of Christ’s all-sufficient grace magnified. God repeats for us each time, what He said to Paul in answer to the request to remove the thorn of suffering he was experiencing, “My grace is sufficient for you.” It is sufficient and beneficial because the power of Christ is given to us to overcome suffering. And that power is made perfect when we need it most – when our weaknesses are most exposed. So suffering is intended by God not only as a way to wean us off of self and onto grace, but also as a way to spotlight that grace and make it shine. That is exactly what faith does: it magnifies Christ’s grace in the future.
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