God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 5 - 2 Corinthians 5-9: Ambassadors for Christ Even in Times of Persecution

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 5-9

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

We are Ambassadors for Christ helping prepare others for the Resurrection.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Someday we will have God-made bodies. We work to prepare people for that day.
One Man died to set everyone's relationships with God right. We represent Christ by calling people into a reconciled relationship.
People watch what we do in bad times. Don't partner with people who reject God. Be God's Temple—holy inside and out.
I am glad my letter helped with your purity. You impressed Titus.
The Macedonian Christians want to help poor Christians. We hope you will follow suit. Be ready with the contribution. Remember, blessings breed blessings. It helps physically and spiritually with gratitude all around.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

We are Ambassadors for Jesus—the one who set all of our relationships with God right.

God sent Jesus to be the sacrifice which would set all of our relationships right. As God's Chosen People, we are His ambassadors to the world, calling them to set their relationships with God right. Being God's Ambassadors is not a new job for God's Chosen People. God wanted Israel to be lighthouses to the nations from the time He called Abraham. The reason is simple—one day, everyone will face God and answer for their actions. We help prepare people for that day. If we want bodies that will never decay we must prepare to be with the one who makes them.

The way we reach our goal as God's Chosen People is to live holy lives even in bad times.

Paul wants the Christians in Corinth to realize people in the world look at God's Chosen People when bad things happen to them. To be honest, this is the time when they learn how we really act. Anyone can be for God when it's beneficial. Only true Disciples of Jesus stay with Him when times get rough. Holy living requires staying with God even when it doesn't pay.

Don't partner with people in the darkness—even when it may help prevent persecution.

It is interesting that this comes directly after Paul tells them that the world wants to see what God's Chosen People will do in times of persecution. It is very tempting to work out a deal for peace. Paul says we do not need a peace deal because God lives among us. Don't partner with people who are not committed to God setting all things right. They will corrupt you.

Paul's previous letter (assuming its 1 Corinthians) worked—the church changed.

The church in Corinth had a lot of problems. As I wrote earlier, they had more issues than Time magazine. It was very difficult reading through the book because I could see myself and the church—local and worldwide—within each of his critiques. Today's reading gives us wonderful news—the letter worked! The Corinthians took Paul's challenges and made changes to their lives. Change can happen if we trust God and His Chosen Messengers!

When God's Chosen People help poor Christians they help far more than physical issues.

It is today's reading which explains why I wished more people spoke of helping the poor individually instead of through donations to institutions or by taxes and government programs. When God's Chosen People give to others, they know God is their Provider and give thanks to Him. The person giving learns how to be God-like. Gratitude comes from both directions—the givers because God blessed them with enough to live and give and the receivers because God supplied what they needed. This is why Paul ends with extravagant praise: "No language can praise it enough!" (9:15, The Message).

Are you an Ambassador for Christ?

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