2 Corinthians 5:11–6:1; 7:2–4comment (0)
August 12, 2010
By Robert Olsen
Related Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:11–6:1; 7:2–4
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Assistant Professor, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Relationships: Reconciliation Factor
2 Corinthians 5:11–6:1; 7:2–4
Reach Out in Openness (5:11–13)
Although the bond between Paul and the Corinthians was fractured, he did not think it was beyond repair and reached out to them to reconcile the relationship. Paul had a fear of the Lord and knew that God could see his motivations. The apostle was not operating out of any type of selfish ambition and hoped that the Corinthian church could see his motives so that it could then boast of him against the false teachers. These false teachers took pride in themselves and their outward actions, not the condition of their hearts. Paul focused on the inward motives and hoped that the Corinthians would see through the false teachers and judge appropriately. In the same way, we need to be judges of character and not of appearance. There are many flashy preachers and teachers in the world today, and we need to be careful not to be captivated by any message that is not the gospel. We need to judge the speaker by the content of his message and not his appearance or eloquence. In the last section of this passage, Paul suggested that if it appeared he was out of his mind, then it was for the sake of God. Perhaps the Corinthian false teachers had looked at the trials Paul had faced as suggesting he was crazy. Instead Paul turned this accusation into an affirmation of his obedience to God. His actions were not done out of some selfish attitude but rather for his concern for the Corinthians’ spiritual well-being. Paul sought reconciliation with the Corinthians just as we are to seek to be reconciled to those with whom we have broken relationships.
Respond to Christ’s Love (5:14–16)
Paul demonstrated the love that Christ has for us in these passages, as he emphasized the death of Christ for all people in order to reconcile us to God. Note only those who believe and accept Christ receive this reconciliation but God offers this to all of humanity. Because of this reconciliation, Paul showed that in like manner, Christians should seek to be reconciled to each other. Christ is the example for all Christians to follow. If we say we believe Christ and yet choose to not follow His example, then we are hypocrites and bad representatives for Him.
Remember God’s Work in Christ (5:17–21)
The change that occurs in a person when he or she accepts Christ is described clearly by Paul. Whoever is in Christ is a new creation. This is one of the key verses in the Bible that describes the Christian’s new relationship with the Creator. Our old self is replaced with a new one. We no longer need to feel guilty about our past ways of living and our past transgressions since our relationship with Christ blots these out. What a wonderful feeling to know that we have been reconciled to God. He no longer counts our wrongdoings against us. We likewise need to forgive our brothers and sisters in Christ and thus bring about reconciliation.
Reassure Others of Your Desires (6:1; 7:2–4)
Paul appealed to the Corinthians to not take God’s grace lightly. Our salvation should have a profound impact on us. Therefore, being new creations, we no longer live like our old selves. If we believe God’s Word, then we need to live accordingly, loving and forgiving each other. Paul urged the Corinthian believers to open their hearts to him and his co-workers. The Corinthians had had a fractured relationship with Paul, and he was pleading with them to be reconciled with him. Paul had never mistreated or taken advantage of them. Therefore they needed to put aside these barriers and embrace Paul as their fellow believer and brother in Christ. In the same way, the relationship that believers have with Christ trumps anything that might otherwise separate us. We need to embrace other Christians and lay aside that which disrupts our relationships. The body of Christ is to be one, and we dishonor God and are bad ambassadors for Christ when we argue and do not forgive each other. We need to take time to seek out others with whom we have disagreements and be reconciled, for this is the will of God.