Paul the Parent

In 2 Cor. 4-8 we have repeated emphasis from Paul about the trials and suffering he and his missionary team have had to endure. He also bring an apology of sorts for the “hurt & tears” his letters to them have caused. Yet he is not sorry that is caused the church to be reconciled with their sins and behavior towards himself and others. The arrogance displayed by the church people had to be addressed. Accountability is a difficult thing to address with people, especially in the church body. Yet scripture tells us that if we see a brother sin a sin not unto death that we are to rebuke and restore that person. [1 John 5:16-17; James 5:19-20] If we would continue to admonish one another in the love of the Lord, we would not have to be fearful of the day of judgment. [2 Cor 5:10, BEMA seat] This thought also is carried out to the end of chapter 5, in that we who have been reconciled through Christ, must now be agents of reconciliation to others. I think this means whether it is a brother or someone outside the church. All of us need to be reconciled to God, then to each other.  Paul addressed a couple of times how believers are to be different from the culture they live in. Too often churches in an attempt to increase attendance try to show the community that they are no different from the world – this is a faulty philosophy – for we are to be different, even peculiar! [1 Peter 2:9-12]

2 Cor 6: makes clear argument that believers are to be different even separated from the behaviors and sin of the world. However this does not mean that we cease to reach out to them. We cannot be a part of another’s sin, but how will they hear/see the Gospel if we isolate ourselves from all of life? Some most of us have discovered is that the world has a greater effect on us than we have on them.  The world will drag us down with them, and then our testimony and character of Godly living becomes tarnished and ridiculed.

Paul describes the Corinthian church by two metaphors, a house and a letter. In both cases Paul is trying to get through to the Corinthians that they aren’t an entity unto themselves, but that they represent Paul and his ministry. The letter – people are reading them and finding out what kind of people they are, as for the house, they are the Temple of God. We are His home. Our bodies must be a place where the glory of God is clearly seen. There must be a departure from the “old Flesh” that use to work in us, and be transformed into the holy vessel that God can display to the world His glory.

Paul is admonishing the church body to be the “New Creation” that God has made them to be and to put away the fleshly lust and old habits they use to perform when they were in darkness. Sanctification really is what these chapters are about. We need to be who we are, not what will give us an easy and acceptable life without pain, trials, or even injury and death. Paul has told the Corinthians several times in His letters about the various persecutions he has suffered for their faith. While Paul was suffering, the Corinthian church was progressing, and Paul tells them that it is okay – he is willing to suffer for their advancement.

It’s like a parent or maybe a mother more specifically enduring hardship for the sake of the their children. Often the children have no idea how much their parents endure and go through for them. It is like that for us and Christ – we may at times feel Jesus isn’t doing anything and that we are on our own – yet if all of the work of Christ could be seen, we would fall on our faces in shame for such thoughts of neglect and personal comfort.

 

 

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