2 Corinthians 5:1-5 ESV
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 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. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
For the true believer in Jesus Christ, we have the hope of life after this life. We have the hope of a better life once we depart our earthly bodies. For, through our faith in Jesus Christ, we are given the hope that when we die that we will live on with God in our heavenly home, with our Lord forever. We who are believing in Jesus Christ, in fact, have this promise as a guarantee of a better life to come when we will no longer have pain, sorrow, sin, sickness, heartache, troubles, difficulties and hardships. But, we will now be free from all these earthly woes, and we will be eternally at peace.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10 ESV
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. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
So, no matter what we are going through right now while we still live in these earthly bodies, for us who are believing in our Lord, we can be of good courage, but not just at the thought that one day this will all be over and we will be with our Lord forever.
But, we can be of courage because, even though we are not physically with our Lord, he is in us and we abide in him, and so we don’t have to go through this life alone, or experience the difficulties of life without a sense of purpose or without resources. For, we know that our God is absolutely in control of all things, and that he is working all things for good for those who love (obey) God, and who are called according to his purpose.
Nonetheless, this promise of a better life after this one, and of eternity with our Lord free from earthly woes, is not the end-all. In other words, our Lord does not save us just to free us from the punishment of sin so that we can go to heaven when we die. He saves us in order to deliver us out of our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin so that we can walk righteously before him while we still live on this earth. He saves us, too, so that we no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us.
So, while we wait for the day when our Lord returns and he takes us to be with him forever, we walk by faith. And, that faith is God-given, so it submits to the Lord’s will and purposes for our lives. It walks according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. This faith, too, says “No” to ungodliness and worldly (fleshly) passions (lusts), and “Yes” to living godly, upright and self-controlled lives while we await our Lord’s return. And, we make it our aim (goal) to please our Lord in all that we do, say and are.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
So, why is he saying this to Christians? If heaven is our eternal destiny, and it is guaranteed us, then why this “for” statement following “we make it our aim to please him”? If we are “in” and we know we are going to heaven when we die, does it even matter if we please God in this life or not? And, can we, thus, just ignore this “for” statement about judgment? Certainly it is not intended for us, is it?
This is what I know from what scripture teaches, and that is that faith is God-given and thus it submits to God’s laws. This is not saying we will be perfect and never sin again, but that genuine faith conducts itself according to the Spirit of God and no longer according to (in agreement with) the flesh. Faith is crucified with Christ in death to sin and it lives to God and to his righteousness – all in the power and working of God’s Holy Spirit. And, faith endures, it continues, and it perseveres to the end of time.
I also know, from scripture, that if we, instead of walking by faith, according to the Spirit, continue to walk according to our flesh, to fulfill our lustful desires, while we ignore God’s teachings on holiness, then the promise of heaven when we leave this earth is not ours to claim. And, I also know that scripture teaches that we will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap decay (destruction). But, if we sow to please the Spirit, THEN we will reap eternal life (Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 6:7-8).
2 Corinthians 5:11-15 ESV
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
What does it mean to fear the Lord? It means that we honor him as the holy God that he is. We respect him. We worship him. We love (obey) him. We are devoted to him and to his service. We value him. We hold him in high regard, as well as we hold his Word, his teachings, his instructions to us in high regard in that we do what the Word teaches instead of just reading it and then walking away and forgetting what it says. And, we follow our Lord wherever he leads us in faithful surrender to his will and purposes for us.
It also means that we recognize that faith in Jesus Christ means our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want. For, Jesus Christ bought us back for God with his blood so that we should now honor God with our lives. He is now our Lord (owner-master) and we are his bond-slaves to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23). Our lives should now be Holy Spirit-controlled rather than being under the control of our fleshly appetites. The love of God should be what drives us rather than us being driven by our flesh. For, daily we should, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of our flesh.
But, again, this is not to say that we will now live in sinless perfection, for we will daily go through a process of sanctification where the Lord is cleansing us from our sins, where we die to the flesh, and where we live to the Spirit, all in the power and strength and wisdom of God.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 ESV
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The whole purpose of our salvation, and of Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins, was to put sin to death in our lives so that we could walk daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, thus, we die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him (born again), created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
Our old lives of living for sin and self should, thus, be done away with by the blood of Christ, through our faith in him. And now, by his grace, the new has come, which is the empowerment and freedom in Christ to now live holy lives pleasing to God, no longer under the power of sin, but now under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, in submission and surrender to his will for us.
So, if your “faith” in Jesus Christ has not resulted in death to sin and living to him and to his righteousness, and if holiness is not what you practice, but if the lusts of your flesh is your practice, instead, then I appeal to you to be reconciled to God today. Repent of your sins, and surrender your all to Jesus Christ, for one day we will all stand before God, and we will reap what we have sown in this life, whether eternal life or eternal destruction.
An Original Work / April 15, 2012
Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.
Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
By His Spirit, from above.
Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.
Wednesday, January 2, 2019