Chapter 5

Promise of New Body
Read (2 Corinthians 5:1-10)
Although believers are living in an earthly body, we will one day receive a new and eternal body in heaven. Our body is likened to a tent that is to be taken down. This physical body is subjected to death and transient in nature. But one day the believer will receive an immortal body made by God in heaven. They will receive a resurrection body when Christ returns (Romans 8:23, 30; Philippians 3:20-21).  They are already experiencing the reality of resurrection life through the presence of the Holy Spirit within them now. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:14).  Our physical bodies now experience trials, pain, sickness, discouragement and anxiety. They are waiting for the abundant life promised in the scriptures (Romans 8:23; 2 Peter 1:11).  Now they live by faith and not by sight.  Faith is not wishful thinking but it is the objective trust in the resurrection of Christ and his return.  When believers die, they go directly to the presence of God. Paul was confident that “Away from the body is at home with the Lord”           (2 Corinthians 5:8).   We should please God whether we are in body or away from this body       (2 Corinthians 5:9). There is no such thing like soul-sleep. Paul longed to depart and be with the Lord  (Phil 1:23). Jesus promised the repentant thief “Today you will be with me in paradise“(Luke 23:40-43). The believers will have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give account of their life (5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).  There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1).  But God will hold believers accountable for the deeds done in their bodies. Christ's victory over sin and death should motivate us to spend the rest of our life serving Christ with whom we will spend our eternity.  May God provide the power of the Holy spirit to sustain our hope.
We are Christ’s Ambassadors
Read (2 Corinthians 5:11-15)
Now Paul discusses his motives, his message and his method of the ministry. Paul’s motive for the ministry is given in verses 11-15.  We serve God out of deep reverence to God and in view of the judgment seat of Christ. It is our responsibility to persuade people to believe in Christ. Persuading is the act of proving the truth by verifiable facts. Paul's personal integrity is known to God and also to Corinthians. Paul was not trying to boast about himself but gave the Corinthians the reasons they should be proud of him so that they may answer those who oppose him. There was a minority in Corinth who questioned Paul’s integrity. His ministry was not motivated by self-interest but the glory of God and the benefit of believers. The Corinthian church demonstrated little appreciation for Paul. Yet he faithfully served them. Christ’s love for him compelled Paul to serve them (2 Corinthians 5:14).  Apostle Paul knew that Christ died for the whole world, so that those who receive the new life should no longer live for themselves but live to please Christ who died and rose again for them (2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:20). The Christian life is a resurrection life Christ provides to live for him. They are made new creations in Christ to live for the glory of God. Through Christ they have been reconciled to God and gave the message of reconciliation that in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.
The great Exchange
Read (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
There was a time when Paul thought that Jesus was just another man.  After his conversion, Paul could no longer think that way. Paul now knows that when a person receives Christ he becomes a new person in Christ. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Then he will have a fresh start and a new  nature (2 Peter 1:3).  It is the result of his abiding union with Christ (Ephesians 4:24; John 15:4-5).  He is not the same anymore.  He enjoys this new nature by spending time in prayer and Bible study. This newness of life comes from God who reconciled them to him through Christ’s atoning death. God has entrusted us with the message of reconciliation. “In Christ God is reconciling the world to himself, not counting their sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19).  It is called the “great exchange” passage in the Bible (2 Corinthians 5:21).  God has credited our sin to Christ's account so that he no longer counts our sins against us (5:19).  God imputes our sin to Christ and gives us His righteousness (John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19).  So when a sinner receives Christ, he is declared righteous upon the merits of Jesus Christ's atoning work on the cross (Romans 3:24-25). To reconcile means to remove enmity between two people. Since the sinner is at enmity with God, he cannot do this for himself.  So God does it through Christ (Romans 5:9-10). This truth empowers us to serve others with the gospel in the hope that they might be reconciled to God. All believers are Christ’s ambassadors. Their ministry is to plead with others to submit to the reconciling work of God (2 Corinthians 5:20). When they are reconciled, their standing before God will change from guilty to blameless. This is called justification. The believer’s hope, peace and eternity are based on the reconciling work of God. The reconciling work of God and the gift of Christ's righteousness give us confidence to live and serve Christ. Are you reconciled to God through faith in Christ?





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