August 16th 2 Corinthians 5
1: For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2: For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4: For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5: Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6: Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9: Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11: Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. 12: For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. 13: For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. 14: For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16: Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18: And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19: To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20: Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21: For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
As Paul faces death everyday for the ministry that God has called him to, he says, we know that if our bodies be destroyed we have new bodies ready for us, and they will be eternal in heaven. And we long for the time when we shall be clothed with new bodies from heaven. Our spirits will not be found naked in heaven but clothed in resurrection bodies. In this life our bodies are groaning, longing, and burdened with this mortal life so that one day we might be clothed in bodies of immortal life. It is God that is going to do all this and he has given us his Spirit who is the ‘down payment’ as it were of our new dwellings in heaven. We are always full of confidence because we know that while we are at home in our moral bodies we are absent from the Lord. We live believing this even though we do not see it yet. We are confident that if we are absent from or mortal bodies - we will then be in the presence of the Lord Jesus. And so we work very hard, so that whether we live or die our service will be acceptable to Him. Because we christians will all appear before the judgement seat of Christ so that everyone of us may receive rewards according to our service accomplished while we were in mortal bodies, whether our service was good or bad. This ‘judgement seat’ that Paul describes is a concept borrowed from the Games in which athletes compete in a race. There is not penal judgement in view here. Even if the Athlete fails to win, he does not go to jail! This judgment is the judgement of the umpire and this is a reward for faithful service. There are three other judgments in scripture. 1. The Judgement of sin in the world at the cross. 2. The judgment of the living nations prior to the kingdom and 3. The Judgement of the great white throne. This last judgment is a judgment of the unrighteous prior to the lake of fire. We must be careful to distinguish between these four judgments of scripture. Paul continues, because we know the terrible consequences of rejecting the Lord, we seek to persuade men and in doing so we are made manifest to God in our service. And l trust that we are revealed to your consciences. We will not introduce ourselves to you again, but we give you an opportunity to be proud of us so that you might have something to say to those who glory in outward appearance rather than in the inner man. If we are mad then we are mad for you. And if we are clear thinking it is for you that we are clear thinking. The thing that compels us is the Love of Christ in our hearts for you and because we think like this – that if one died for all of us then we are all dead in him and he died for us all so that we should live not for ourselves but for him who died for us and was raised again. So from now on we do not want to know anyone just as human beings. Even though we have known Christ in the flesh we do not want to know him in the flesh anymore. As far as we are concerned if a man is in Christ he is a new creature. All the old things have passed away and everything has become new. And everything that we have is from God. And he has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ and he has given to us this ministry of reconciliation. Which is that, God was in Christ reconciling the whole world unto himself. God did not credit their sins to their account and he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are ambassadors of Christ. And it is God that is pleading with you though us. We ask you on behalf of Christ - Be reconciled to God. God made Christ who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that; we might be made in Christ the righteousness of God.
- How does Paul view his own death?
- What does death mean for us believers?
- What is the over riding motive for life and service?