Savoring God’s Word One Bite At A Time.
On Trial
Christ’s courtroom can be a scary place for Christians. We are safe by the blood of Christ but culpable for our personal actions. Our lives are an open book before His eyes. We will be judged for what we do with what He gives. Paul wrote: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10). Click to read more…
Persuasive Fear
Fear is highly persuasive as long as we can see an effective solution. Fear boomerangs when fright outweighs the credibility of the solution. Healthy fear sees God as the holy solution. The “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” the psalmist wrote (Psalm 111:10, cf. Prov. 1:7). Paul, too, knew the fear that moves our minds to know God and our wills to serve Him. “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are revealed to God” (2 Corinthians 5:11). Click to read more…
Motive For Ministry
Love moves us to serve Jesus. Paul wrote, “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died” (2 Corinthians 5:14). Is it our love for Christ that motivates our ministry or Christ’s love for us? His love or our love, that is the question. Click to read more…
Life’s Purpose
The death of Christ generates our purpose in life.
 
Paul wrote, He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again for them (2 Corinthians 5:15).
 
He died for all repeats what Paul said in verse 14 in order to expand the idea of Christ’s substitutionary death to our purpose for life in verse 15. Click to read more…
How Do We Know Who We Know?
Relationships are forever changed when we become Christians. We do not regard each other the same way in Christ as we did before Christ. Paul wrote: “For this reason, we, from now on, know no one according to the flesh. Although we have known Christ according to the flesh, but now we no longer know Him in this way” (2 Corinthians 5:16). The old order of life has passed. Earthly distinctions no longer matter. A new way of life began in Christ. We can no longer evaluate each other according to the worldly criteria of social status, achievements or success. We must not bring those standards into the church because we have been changed. Click to read more…
A New World Dawning
The dawn of a new world has broken over the horizon of darkness. We, Christians, are the vanguard of God’s new creation which will someday wholly replace the old world order. Paul wrote, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; the entire old order has passed away, behold the new has come to be (2 Corinthians 5:17).
There is no verb in the opening clause so we must supply one. A common interpretation is to make this into a statement of personal regeneration. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. Click to read more…

The Ministry Of Reconciliation
To reconcile is to make peace, to bring an end to hostility. We live in a hostile world. The root of that hostility is bound up in man’s rebellion against God which leads to hostility towards others. Paul wrote, Now all these things (the new creation, vs.17) are from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and who gave to us the ministry of reconciliation, that is God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting against them their sins, and having deposited in us the word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19). Click to read more…
AMBASSADORS FOR PEACE
Our mission is the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). God reconciled us to Himself in Christ, “therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).
The word translated “ambassadors” (???????????) is a verb, not a noun. Originally, the verb meant to be the oldest or to assume first place in rank. By the time of Paul, the verb came to mean the actions of an ambassador who represents another person in negotiations (NIDNTT, 1:193). The word was used to refer to the Emperor’s legate, one who carries out the official duties of an envoy or emissary. Click to read more…
THE PRICE OF PEACE
The clearest and most important verse in the Bible regarding justification is 2 Corinthians 5:21. God made peace with us by removing the enmity between us, but someone must pay to reconcile enemies. Forensic payment for sin is justification. Paul writes, “Be reconciled to God. The one who knew no sin, He made to be sin on our behalf, in order that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Click to read more…
EMPTY RECONCILIATION
What does it mean to receive the grace of God in vain? Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:1, “And working together we also are appealing to you not in vain to receive the grace of God.” The words conclude Paul’s explanation of God’s reconciling work in Christ and the reconciling ministry we have toward others (2 Cor. 5:16-21). Therefore, Paul warns us not to receive God’s grace in vain. Click to read more…
 
 
 
 
 
 
DO NO HARM
How often do we “bag it” and move on in our relationships with other Christians? Disagreements, irritations, and hurt feelings develop. We distance ourselves from one another, dismissing the relationships as peripheral to ministry. Not Paul! He writes, “working together we also urge you … giving no cause for offense at all that the ministry might not be blemished” (2 Cor. 6:1&3). The first rule of ministry, like medicine, is to do no harm. Click to read more…
THE PREACHER’S ETHOS
Perched precariously on our shaky pedestals, we preachers can feel vulnerable to the changing tides of popularity. The lure of pragmatism – using rhetorical methods to generate crowds – is powerful especially when critics blame our lack of success on methodological failure. Paul dealt with the rhetorical sophists of his day in 2 Corinthians. His letter is an example of “forensic rhetoric” (Witherington, Conflict & Community, p.333ff). Click to read more…
MONUMENTS OF SERVICE
Paul was tough. The list of sufferings in 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 boggles the mind. Chrysostom called Paul’s CV a “blizzard of troubles” (Martin, 2 Corinthians, p.172). Most of us want our CVs to be more self-promoting, not Paul. He repeated a similar list of his qualifications for ministry in 2 Corinthians 11:21-27 (cf. 4:7-11) to show that true ministry is demonstrated by sacrifice. Click to read more…
 
 
 
Reconciliation: Crossing The Bridge
Reconciliation requires us to be open with our feelings where once we were closed. When we have been hurt by another, we pull up the drawbridge to the castle of our hearts. We fill the moat with water to keep people away. The other party must cross the great divide to reach us. Crossing that bridge is an emotional challenge for all of us. Click to read more…
BEING VULNERABLE
When we’ve been hurt it is hard to risk being vulnerable. I know that I tend to close the door to my feelings and put out the no trespassing sign. I put up walls to protect my heart. Paul shows us another way. Ministry calls for transparency and transparency can be traumatic. “You are not being cramped by us,” Paul wrote, “but you are being cramped in your feelings. Now, in exchange, I am talking as little children, be opened wide to us also” (2 Cor. 6:12-13).
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