2 CORINTHIANS - Chapter 5 Print E-mail

2 CORINTHIANS – Chapter 5

Sunday Evening Service, July 8, 2013, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


Paul has been speaking of his trials and near death experiences, referring to them as slight afflictions.  In reality they were far from slight---never ending hard work, anxieties of all kinds, poor health and persecutions---all of which made for a steady drain on his power to deal with the problems before him.


He felt these were all pushing him to the moment when his physical body would finally give out.  His vision of the life ahead was so glorious it reduced His sufferings to trifles.  Not only that, he saw how God was using his trials to get him ready for life on the other side of death.  His vision of the unseen was so real the anticipation of it renewed his spirit day by day. 


Death to Paul was not an end, but a new beginning.


2 Cor. 5: 1-5:  We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.  If so that being clothed we shall not be found naked.  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not to be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  Now he that has prepared us for the selfsame things is God, who also has given to us the earnest of the Spirit.”


Our earthly house is our mortal body.  The building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens is the Spirit of God wherein we dwell and Jesus who indwells us.  When we die, our Spirit will just change addresses to our house which is in heaven.


We have great hopes for that house that it will be a great improvement over this body of flesh.  Paul is not speaking here of a mansion in heaven, but of our glorified bodies.  It is comforting to know that we will not be disembodies spirits.  We shall not be found naked”.  I don’t know about you, but I am certainly comforted in that gospel news.  Not to say that I have ever given it a second thought.


  Whatever body the Lord has for us will be good because it will be in heaven.   In any event, we know God is preparing us for eternity and has given us His Spirit as a guarantee that the immortal body awaits us.


The apostle has no fear of death, nor should we.  He speculates as to how nice it would be if the glorified body could somehow be slipped over the present body.  Further on, Paul will speak of being absent from the body and present with the Lord---with no time lag in between.


He groans, not to be rid of the body (for that would mean death), but to have the new one superimposed.  God is the one who has designed this very purpose, the clothing with the new body.  The Christian hope is already partly actualized when we put on Christ.    


The Holy Spirit who resides in us belongs to eternity.  He is continually working in us to transform us into the likeness of the Lord and preparing us for our glorified bodies.  The key work is “fellowship”.  If we can learn to fellowship with Christ now---and enjoy him now---there will be no fear of death and what lies on the other side.


2 Cor. 5: 6-10:  We are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.  (For we walk by faith and not by sight).  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.  Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.”


Phil 1:22-24:  For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  If I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor; yet what I shall choose I know not.  For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better; Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”


Paul deeply appreciated the spiritual presence of the Lord.  Even though he saw a better life ahead, the apostle knew how great this present life is.  He didn’t want to depart this earthly life until he had squeezed the most out of it.


We only go around once in life.  Let us live every day to the fullest, enjoying life, loving the Lord and loving one another.  When we mess up, take it to the Lord in prayer daily, ask him to fix whatever mistakes we make, get up the next day rejoicing in life as one more day to spend with and for the Lord.


The word used for Judgment Seat here is “Bema”.  Among the ruins in Corinth today there is a stone structure knows as the Bema.  It was an elevated platform where rulers and officials sat to pass judgment on the affairs of men.  Every Greek city had one.  Paul seized upon the term BEMA to highlight the truth that all believers would stand before the “Bema” of God and have their earthly lives reviewed and evaluated.  Then we will either be rewarded “everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether it is good or bad.”


Unlike the exams we had in school, there are no quizzes or midterms to let us know how we’re doing.  There is only one big exam at the end.


The believer’s salvation is not called in question here; it is the things done while in the body that are judged.


When we are standing before him, either on the day of visitation, or at the end of our life, He’ll either say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” or He will say—“Take away his one talent and give it to the one who has ten! (Mt. 25:21, 28).


When Christ is more real to us than our problems, we don’t have any problems.  But when our problems are more real than the Lord, then we know we are farther from the Lord than we ought to be.


2 Cor. 5-11-16: “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest to God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.  We commend not ourselves again to you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that you may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.   For whether we are beside ourselves, it is of God; or whether we are sober, it is for your cause.  For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that He died for all, that they which live should not hereafter live to themselves, but to Him which died for them, and rose again.  Wherefore hereafter know we no man after flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now hereafter know we Him no more.”


Paul is saying it is in the light of the judgment seat of Christ that I conduct my ministry.  God is a witness to my integrity, and so you may be too.  There is no self-interest in his ministry---it is for your sakes, and that is because his life was shaped by the self-giving love of Christ, who died for the sake of others, that their lives in turn might the free of self-interest.


2 Cor. 5: 17-21 “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, al l things are become new.  All things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To say, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God.  For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”


God’s reconciliation of man to Himself begins with the creation of man, hoping to enjoy an intimate relationship with him.  To make that possible, He gave man a free will.  No matter how much we love someone, no one would desire another’s love which was not given of their own free will.


This way men could freely respond to God’s love by obeying Him, trusting Him and being a friend to Him.  They preferred to be free of God, able to do their own thing.  So the creature turned his back on his Creator and the creation plunged into sin and condemnation.


In this condition, man has no consciousness of God at all.  Even so, God did not abandon His plan.  Even though man had given up on Him, God didn’t’ give up on man.


So he provided a way whereby man could turn around and be reconciled to his Creator.  This is God’s genius of reconciliation of man to Himself.  He reconciles us to Himself by means of Jesus’ death on the cross and beyond that, made us reconcilers.


After Adam sinned, God had to make a new creation without destroying the old.  He is shaping the new man in His image.  God does this shaping by imparting to the new Christian His own nature.


We receive this new nature at salvation.  However, we do not automatically become like God.  The new Christian still has his old nature which is very powerful.  The old nature dies and the new nature grows as the Christian yields to the divine nature within him. 


Many Christians with their free will are not interested in changing into the likeness of the Lord. 


Paul’s words here go deep.  The apostle is dropping a truth bomb on them.  Paul is telling them God made Jesus, Who was totally sinless, to be a sin-bearer in our place so that we might become the righteousness of God…in Him!  He is telling them when they received Christ; they received a gift of righteousness. 


The apostle is begging them to accept God’s offer.


Paul is saying we actually possess the righteousness of Christ.


In Ephesians where Paul discusses the old nature and the new nature, he describe the new nature with these words.  That you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24).


In Romans 5, the apostle discusses the gift of righteousness, saying, “God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness…” (Vs. 17 NIV).


“…And be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own, but that which is through faith in Christ---the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Phi. 3:9 NIV).


Paul speaks of his own ministry as one “that brings righteousness” (2 Cor. 3:9).


God’s righteousness cannot be separated from Him, any more than His life can be separated from Him.  We inherit this life from our Father.


When we received Christ and the Holy Spirit, we also received the Father.


All the righteousness of our carnal nature is as filthy rags.  When we receive Christ, we receive His righteous nature which cannot sin.  Yet we still have our old natures which can only sin.  This is what makes for the struggle of the Christian life.


Romans 7: 14-24: “For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.  For that which I do I allow not; for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.  If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law that it is good.  Now then, it is not more that I do it, but sin that dwells in me.  For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwells no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how perform that which is good I find not...  The good that I would I do not; but he evil which I would not that I do.  Now if I do that I would not, it not longer I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  …who shall deliver me from the body f this death…? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  With the mind I serve the law of God; but the flesh the law of sin.”


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.


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