Now Is The Day of Salvation

As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.

2 For he says,

“In the time of my favor I heard you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

Someone reading this post needs to read these two verses several times, and meditate on its powerful and timely words.

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Reconciliation and Righteousness

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

God through Christ provided the model for us to be reconciled to others. But why?

Why bother? He knew who we were and what we do and what we’ve done? Why did He go to such great lengths to reconcile us to Himself? And sacrificing the Second Person of the Trinity was an enormous deal! So why?

The answer I keep coming back to is that it was in God’s character to do it. He was compelled to do it, as odd as that sounds. If I think about it too much, it’s overwhelming because of the absurdity of it all. Absurdity, that is, from our very limited thinking.

Praise God that without this reconciliation we’d still be dead in our trespasses and sins.

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Love God and Love People

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:11-15

Verses 14 and 15 contain the Gospel message and the Christian life. Believing and not living for yourselves is all we need to know about the Christian walk. Sure, there are details like loving people, forgiving, and encouraging but the foundation is “love God and love people.”

It’s not always as easy as it sounds, that is, loving people. Quite frankly, many people aren’t that lovable and don’t make it easy for those who try. But that’s the point, isn’t it? If John talked about loving the unlovely people. It’s easy to love people who will reciprocate.

God wants you to love someone who isn’t lovable. Right now you’re thinking of one or two you know who are like that. This week do what you can to reach out to them. Some things you do may look or sound silly, but if you’re attempting to love them, you’re being faithful to the Scripture.

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Rewards and Penalties

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10

It’s clear that we will all stand before Christ. When we stand before Him, we will be judged for how we lived our lives. Did we live for Him? Even Jesus said in John 5:28–29, “An hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”

Did we live for Him?

This is totally in line with the previous verse “so we make it our goal to please Him.” The reward for a righteous life is eternity with Christ. The penalty for a wicked, unbelieving life is eternal damnation.

I suspect you know someone who is on tinkering with these life and death decisions. They’ve got one foot in the world and on in church. Pray that the truth will be revealed in a powerful and distinct way.

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To Please Him

8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 2 Corinthians 5:8-9

The Christian life can be summed up in the first part of verse 9: we make it our goal to please Him.

With a guiding principle like that, you and I can’t go wrong. Even if we’re in the minority on any issue in our culture, if we’re pleasing Him, that’s all that matters.

It’s a two-part “catch.” First we have to know what pleases him, and then we have to do (or say) it.

But it’s not as if we’re in this struggle alone. No, we have the Holy Spirit living within us to help guide us. That is, the Holy Spirit of God Almighty is living within us. He will gently coax us into making the right choice, if that’s what we so desire.

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The Focus of Heaven

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:6-7

We’ve been talking about the heaven for the past several days. We get glimpses every now and again, but nothing that is concrete or set in stone, so to speak.

Until then, we wait. Patiently. And with longing. What’s on the “other side?”

Scientists now estimate that that are at least 100 billion stars in the Milky Way – our galaxy. They further estimate that there are at least 200 billion galaxies (and possibly up to 2 trillion galaxies).

And here we are on planet Earth.

As we look in to the outer reaches of the universe, it’s not at all difficult to imagine something more powerful and more majestic than even the vastness of the stars and galaxies beyond what we can see and estimate.

What’s heaven like? If the rest of the universe is any indication of how complex it could be, that’s even better.

And yet, the focus in heaven won’t be heaven; it’ll be Jesus.

It’s something to think about today.

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Our Heavenly Dwelling

5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5

It’s hard for me to imagine that our current bodies are temporary. It’s all we’ve ever known. We know that these bodies decay and crumble. In fact, everything around us decays and crumbles – everything. Nothing’s permanent, even though it may take centuries to decay.

So what is this permanent, heavenly dwelling Paul referred to here? I’m not really sure. Whatever it is, though, it will be better that what we have now.

And to guarantee that, the Spirit of God is the deposit.

Rejoice, Brothers and Sisters, that this “tent” we live in now will be replaced by something more permanent, more substantial. As the years pass and the old age groans get louder, we’re that much closer to permanency.

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Right Around the Corner!

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:13-18

The older you get, the more we are faced with our own morality. Loved ones, relatives, and friends are passing away, and we marvel that we’re still around. We’re decaying day by day.

It’s interesting because in the book of Genesis we see saint after saint living to 800 or 900 years old, but we’re fortunate if we make it to 90. As our bodies get older, we are that much closer to seeing what Paul called “the unseen eternal.”

That gives us hope because all the sin and decay and ruin we find ourselves in is only temporary. It’s but a mist. We realize that because we look back and wonder where the years all went.

Eternity is right around the corner. Hang in there.

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The Human Condition

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:8-12

In these few verses Paul was describing the human condition: withstanding the storms of life. Paul relied on Jesus’ resurrection power to buoy him upwards. He had to because there was nothing else he could rely on.

We have to.

It’s very easy to write this when life is smooth and uncomplicated. It’s entirely different to put it into practice when your world is turned upside down.

That’s why it’s vitally important for all of us to be as close to Christ as humanly possible. When the storms of life come to us, we know immediately who o rely on.

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