Savoring God’s Word One Bite At A Time.
Anathema!
The gospel divides!
It is good news to those who accept God’s grace, but it brings anathema on those who distort the truth. Paul wrote, “But even if we or an angel out of heaven preach a gospel to you other than the one we have preached to you, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:8). Paul repeats the statement in the next verse with the slight change of a gospel “other than what you have received.” Click to read more…
 
Religious Pacifiers
Many today offer religious pacifiers instead of the true gospel. Some sell a watered-down gospel of cheap grace and easy believism to attract crowds. Others peddle moralism or ritualism to give people a false sense of security because they can keep selective rules or practice special rituals. Religious pacifiers appease people by offering them something they can do to be right with God. But when we preach to please people, we distort the gospel and displease Christ. Paul has just cursed such preachers with “anathema” in the first chapter of Galatians. Then he writes: Click to read more…
Unpacking The Undeserved Gift
Bonus time! Our employer hands out the end of the year bonus. We appreciate it and look forward to it, maybe even bank on it each year. It’s a gift, but it feels like we deserve it. After all, good employees deserve a share of the profits, we think. The gift becomes a wage we earn not an undeserved gift. We, Christians, may develop a similar attitude with Christ’s gift to us. We would never say it like that, but we come to treat His gift like the company bonus. Click to read more…
The Big Gospel
The gospel is more than the good news about justification by faith in Christ’s death. Paul writes, in his opening words to the Galatians, that Christ “gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age” (Gal. 1:4).
The Galatians accepted the first part but corrupted the second part which is why they were in danger of turning back to the elemental principles of this world (Gal. 4:3,9). Click to read more…
Foggy Doctrine
Many churches intentionally tolerate fuzzy theology to attract a wider audience. They say, “We don’t care about doctrine here. We just love Jesus.” A murky picture of Christ emerges through the haze. Paul argues in Galatians that fuzzy theology actually denies the Christ we claim to love. Foggy doctrine leads us to betray God.
“I am astonished that you are so quickly betraying the one who called you by the grace of Christ for another gospel” (Galatians 1:6). Click to read more…
Lines Of Loyalty
We Christians dare not compromise our faith by making unholy alliances with the idols of our culture. Idolatry tests loyalty. Paul writes, “Wherefore, come out from the middle of them and be separate, says the Lord. And don’t touch what is unclean and I will welcome you” (2 Cor. 6:17). There are three commands followed by a promise. The commands are 1) come out, 2) be separate, and 3) don’t touch. The promise is a warm reception from God when we obey his demands for loyalty. 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…
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