2 Corinthians 4:1-2 ESV
“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”
Oh, how I wish this would be the truth coming from the mouths of all pastors, preachers, and teachers of the Word of God today. So many of them are practicing disgraceful and underhanded ways, and they are using cunning and craftiness in the tampering of God’s Word to make it more acceptable and appealing to human flesh and to the people of the world. And some of them are being taught to be deceptive and manipulative, too.
So many of them have gone the way of the world and they are following marketing books in place of the Scriptures and in place of the Holy Spirit to teach them how to conduct their worship services, and how to present the Word of God, and in how to draw in large crowds of people from the world into their “church” gatherings. And thus they are altering the gospel message, too, to make it more acceptable to human flesh.
Many of them are no longer teaching that we must repent and that we must obey our Lord and that we must submit to him as Lord (Owner-Master) of our lives, even though this is what the Scriptures teach. They are skipping over those passages of Scripture or else they are twisting them to say what they do not say. And so there is no longer the fear of the Lord being taught, but people are making professions of faith in Jesus without repentance.
They are telling the people that they can “believe” (not defined) in Jesus Christ, have their sins forgiven, escape hell, and have heaven guaranteed them when they die with no requirements for repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord. Thus, they are being given carte blanche to continue in deliberate and habitual sin without guilt, with no warnings of the consequences for unrepentant and habitual sin against God.
Therefore, they are leading many people to hell on the promise of heaven because they are lying to them. They are telling them what their itching ears want to hear but not what they need to hear. And the masses are flocking to this cheap grace gospel because it makes no requirements of them to have to change how they are living. For they are convincing them that their sins no longer matter to God and that God can’t even see when they sin.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 ESV
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
The truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is definitely being veiled (hidden, concealed) today. But it is not just being covered up with the lies but it is being attacked and falsely accused of being “works-based salvation.” The truth of the gospel is being demonized while the lies are being raised up as being righteous. Now light is being seen as darkness, and darkness is now being taught as light. And many people are flocking to the lies.
In truth, the god of this world, Satan, has indeed blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. They are not only not being taught the truth of the gospel, but they are not being taught the truth about Jesus Christ, about God, and about the whole counsel of God. They are being given a false image of God, of Christ, and they are accepting that.
So, “unbelievers” are not just those who refuse to believe in Jesus. Many of them are making professions of faith in Jesus Christ, but based in lies, not in truth, and so they are false professions of faith. But God has always defined unbelief as disobedience and obedience as belief (faith). And obedience is not just keeping a set of rules. Obedience is full surrender to Christ as Lord, making him Lord of our lives, and us following him wherever he leads us.
2 Corinthians 4:5-6 ESV
“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 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.”
If we are true servants of the Lord and of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are not in the business of promoting ourselves. Now, this does not mean that we won’t share personal testimony from time to time, as did Paul, but that we are not promoting ourselves and our thinking and our own philosophies, but what we are promoting is Christ in his fulness, and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, so that many will reject the lies and believe the truth.
For only in the truth is there true salvation from sin and the hope of eternal life with God. And the truth is that our faith comes from God, it is gifted to us by God, and we are persuaded by God as to his holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of our sins and to turn to our Lord to now follow him in obedience to his will and to his ways.
So when we believe in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self is crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin, but so we will now be slaves to God and to his righteousness, for the glory of God, in his power and strength.
Therefore, sin is to no longer reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. Sin is to no longer have dominion (rule, authority) over our lives. For, if we obey sin, it ends in death, but if we obey the Lord, it leads to righteousness and to sanctification, and it ends in eternal life with God. For we will all reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. Please take this to heart.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]
Because He Lives
By Gloria Gaither / William J. Gaither
God sent His son, they called Him Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth a living just because He lives
And then one day, I’ll cross that river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then as death gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He reigns
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