2 Corinthians 7:2-7

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 15, 2024 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.
For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn —conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
- 2 Corinthians 7:2-7

In this passage, Paul returns to the thought he started earlier in chapter 6, after taking a diversion from that in the previous section. Paul is again appealing that the Corinthians strengthen their relationship with him and the other apostles, explaining how his actions encourage this.

Paul starts out in verse 2 by appealing to the Corinthians to accept him and his companions. This plea comes from a place of vulnerability and honesty. Paul insists that he and his fellow workers have conducted themselves with integrity. This verse sets the tone for the following verses, emphasizing the importance of mutual respect and openness in Christian relationships. Paul's defense of his integrity highlights a fundamental aspect of Christian ministry: the need for trust and transparency. Leaders in the church must be above reproach, ensuring their actions do not harm others. This verse also encourages believers to be discerning and to make room in their hearts for those who have demonstrated genuine Christ-like character.

Paul reassures the Corinthians in verse 3 that his previous words were not meant to condemn them but to express his deep love and commitment. He reiterates the strong bond he shares with them, indicating that he and his companions are willing to face any circumstance, even death, alongside the Corinthians. This verse teaches us about the depth of Christian fellowship. It is a call to deep, sacrificial love for one another, reflecting the unity that should characterize the body of Christ. Paul’s willingness to "live or die" with the Corinthians serves as a model for the type of unwavering commitment believers should have towards each other.

Paul’s relationship with the Corinthians is marked by honesty and pride as he shares in verse 4. Despite the challenges and troubles he faces, he finds immense joy and encouragement in his relationship with them. The honesty that Paul emphasizes here is crucial for healthy relationships within the church. Speaking the truth in love is essential for growth and maturity in Christ. Paul’s ability to find joy amidst trials is a testament to the strength that comes from supportive Christian relationships.

There is a bit of a transition in verse 5, where Paul goes back to explaining about their travels that he had previously discussed in chapter 2. Paul shares the struggles he faced upon arriving in Macedonia. He describes a time of unrest and external conflicts, coupled with internal fears. This transparent confession of his struggles provides a backdrop for the comfort and encouragement he later receives. Paul's openness about his difficulties serves as a reminder that even the most devoted servants of God face challenges. It encourages believers to be honest about their struggles and to seek support within the Christian community. This verse also highlights the importance of resilience and faith in the face of adversity.

In the midst of his struggles, Paul experienced God's comfort through the arrival of Titus (verse 6). God often uses people to provide comfort and encouragement. The presence of a trusted friend or fellow believer can be a powerful source of support during difficult times. God is attentive to our needs and often works through others to meet them. This encourages believers to be available and willing to be used by God to provide comfort to those who are struggling. The role of community in God's plan for our comfort and support is emphasized here.

Titus not only brought comfort by his presence but also shared the encouraging news of the Corinthians' affection and concern for Paul (verse 7). Their longing, sorrow, and concern deeply moved Paul, bringing him immense joy. It is important to express love and concern within the Christian community. The Corinthians' genuine care for Paul significantly impacted his well-being and joy. It serves as a reminder that our expressions of love and concern can profoundly affect others, providing encouragement and strengthening relationships.

In this passage, Paul opens his heart to the Corinthian church, expressing his integrity, commitment, and the mutual joy and comfort found in their relationship. This passage shows us the importance of integrity in our relationships with one another, deep commitment to the faith, joy in the midst of trials, being honest about our struggles, allowing God to use us to comfort others, and expressing love and concern for one another. Our Christian relationships and communities should be marked by these qualities, and we should all strive to live these out in our daily lives. This not only builds relationships with one another but strengthens our faith and relationship with Jesus Christ.

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The Gospel 17: Just Get Saved?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 12, 2024 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

One of the heresies that has deeply infiltrated the church is the notion of “just get saved and everything else is a secondary issue.” It comes in different flavors, but the form I see the most is: “Is believing that particular doctrine necessary to be saved?” It’s a very nasty question because it puts those who stand on Scripture in a tight position. I deal with origins often, and this is an excellent topic for this issue. If believing what Genesis says as written is necessary to be saved, then that means believing a 6-day creation and a recent creation (roughly 6000 years ago for the 21st century) is a doctrine that must be believed to be a born-again Christian. I don’t know of anyone who would truly say that is the case. But when they say, “No, it is not necessary,” the immediate follow up is: “So why draw a line on this point? I can believe what I want on that topic and still get into heaven.”

We must be careful here because this is a trick of the enemy. It’s a very sly tactic and my response is, “That’s the wrong question to ask.” It is the wrong question to be asking if this doctrine or that doctrine is necessary to be saved. Anyone who is asking this does not understand the Gospel as well as they think they do. How can I say that? Because those who are asking this are treating the Gospel as a set of statements to believe, not a PERSON to believe. And they are trying to pin the doctrinal claims on those standing for sound doctrine to let themselves off the hook.

My other response to this is: “The BELIEF in a 6-day creation is not necessary for one to be saved, as one can be wrong on many things and still be saved. However, the FACT of a 6-day creation is necessary for salvation to even be possible. Because unless God created in 6 days as Genesis records, then the status and nature of the creation is not what it was for Adam and Eve. If Adam and Eve’s sin did not affect and curse the world as Genesis describes, then there is no salvation to be had because there is nothing to be saved from.”

The issue can expand to many different things, not just origins. What about infant baptism? What about divorce? Homosexual relationships? The role of science and/or politics? The style of worship? The list goes on and on. Some of these can very well be primary issues. Some of them should not even be on the debate list. But behind all of it is a fundamental mishandling of Scripture and the Gospel. The entire approach with all these questions boils down to: “Can I believe what I want to believe and still be considered a Christian?” Or “What I can get away with and still be considered a Christian?” It is like those who ask for what the minimal requirements are to be saved. Those who are taking that line are completely missing the point.

The Gospel is not about a set of doctrines, though we absolutely do need those doctrines to set up concrete markers to what we are and what we are not. There are doctrines that absolutely draw a line as to who is in the faith and who is not. But there is more than that. The Gospel is about a person; it is about Jesus. Here is the other problem. Many people agree with that, but then treat Jesus as some ethereal, out-there figure. Or more realistically, they have made a “false Jesus” that fits their personality, their preferences, and their likings. Their “Jesus” is themselves. Man has been doing this since the beginning – putting ourselves in the God position, thinking we can make God do what we would have Him do.

In Biblical Christianity, we are not given space for our opinions or our preferences. In Biblical Christianity, the first thing that is dealt with is self. Self must be denied. So let me spell it out: “IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!” The Gospel is not about you. It’s not about me. While we are involved, we are not the focal point. Jesus is. So when dealing with these kinds of questions about which statements are necessary to believe or not, the real question is: Are we following Jesus or following our own ideals?

Most people who ask these questions KNOW that their position is wrong, otherwise they would not be asking for permission to keep it. I have never once heard someone who believes in a six-day creation ask if they could believe that and get into heaven. I only hear that from old-earth creationists and theistic evolutionists. Why is that? Because we do not need permission to believe something the Bible explicitly teaches and still call yourself a Christian. That is supposed to be automatic. It’s simply amazing and astonishing that Christians gape at other Christians for actually believing what their book says. I’m reminded of those who see people praying and getting answers, and they tell that person to stop praying because they are making the mediocre look like mediocre. What happened to actually believing the Bible in Christianity today? And we wonder what happened to our strength and power to influence culture.

The Gospel has been watered down and reduced to where you only need to focus on four or five verses and the rest don’t matter. Who thought that was even thinkable? If we are Christians, we are to believe the ENTIRE Bible, cover to cover. Not interpretations of it. Not broken down into primary and secondary categories, but the whole thing. Because the whole thing is about Jesus, the whole thing is primary. While it may not be necessary to believe certain things to be saved, if one IS saved, they eventually will come around and believe the whole thing. You will not find an authentic, born-again believer openly questioning the clarity or the intention of the text. You will find false believers and satanic plants seeking to sow discord doing so. But the born-again believer is going to eventually stand on the holistic Word of God and not be swept aside by the winds and waves of our culture. But the compromised will, and we’ll see what that looks like over the next few weeks.

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2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 8, 2024 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
- 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

One of the most common tools Paul uses in his writing is contrast. He often compares two opposites to show his readers the stark differences between the ways of God and the ways of this world. Paul employs multiple contrasts in this passage, showing the Corinthians and us how to live out our faith and the things that can easily distract us from that.

Paul begins here in verse 14 with a powerful metaphor, urging believers not to be "yoked together with unbelievers." The imagery of a yoke, which is a wooden beam used to join two animals for plowing, implies a partnership or close relationship. Paul warns against forming such bonds with those who do not share the Christian faith, as it can lead to conflicts and compromises in values and beliefs.

The rhetorical questions that follow emphasize the stark contrast between the values of believers and unbelievers. Righteousness and wickedness, light and darkness, represent opposing forces. Paul’s use of these opposites underscores the inherent incompatibility between the ways of God and the ways of the world. The underlying message is clear: believers are called to live in a way that reflects their faith and should be cautious about relationships that might hinder their spiritual growth.

Paul continues his list of contrasts in verse 15 by presenting another pair of contrasts: Christ and Belial. "Belial" is a term that signifies worthlessness and is often associated with Satan or evil. The implication is that just as there is no harmony between Christ and Satan, there can be no true spiritual harmony between believers and unbelievers. The repetition of these contrasts serves to reinforce Paul’s point. The relationships and partnerships that believers form should reflect their commitment to Christ. By aligning closely with those who do not share their faith, believers risk compromising their own values and being led astray. This is not at all saying that believers should not associate with unbelievers, but that we should be careful how closely we align with them.

In verse 16, Paul invokes the imagery of the temple to highlight the sacredness of believers' relationship with God. The temple of God represents a place of worship, holiness, and God’s presence. Idols, on the other hand, represent false gods and impurity. This contrast emphasizes the incompatibility of worshiping God while engaging in practices or relationships that do not honor Him.

Paul reminds the Corinthians that they themselves are the temple of the living God. This statement draws from the Old Testament – Leviticus 26:12, Jeremiah 32:38, and Ezekiel 37:27, The implication is that believers are not just individuals; we collectively form the dwelling place of God. This divine presence requires a commitment to holiness and separation from anything that would defile it.

Loosely quoting from Isaiah 52:11, Paul calls for separation from impurity in verse 17. While the direct prophecy in Isaiah was for Israel to leave Babylon and its corrupt influences, now it represents distancing ourselves from practices, relationships, and environments that lead to spiritual compromise. The phrase "touch no unclean thing" emphasizes the need for purity. It is a call to avoid not just overt sin but also any association with practices that can lead to impurity. The promise that follows—"I will receive you"—offers assurance of God’s acceptance and presence when believers commit to living according to His standards.

In verse 18, Paul wraps up his section of contrasts with a comforting promise, quoting from 2 Samuel 7:14 and Isaiah 43:6. God’s assurance of a familial relationship—He is the Father, and believers will be His sons and daughters—highlights the depth of His love and commitment. This relationship is not based on mere observance of rules but on a deep, personal connection with God as a loving Father. The title "Lord Almighty" underscores God’s power and authority. It serves as a reminder that the call to holiness and separation is not a burdensome command but an invitation to a relationship with the all-powerful and loving God who desires the best for His children.

The first verse of chapter 7 could either be a conclusion to the end of chapter 6 or the beginning of a new thought. It provides a call to action based on the previous points he has made. Because believers have the promises of God’s presence, acceptance, and fatherly love, they are motivated to pursue purity. The encouragement to "purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit" encompasses both physical and spiritual aspects of life. It is a comprehensive call to holiness, urging believers to examine their lives and remove anything that hinders their relationship with God.

This passage offers a powerful message about the importance of spiritual purity and separation from influences that can lead believers astray. Paul’s exhortations, grounded in the promises of God’s presence and love, call believers to a life of holiness. This passage challenges us to evaluate our relationships, commitments, and practices, ensuring they reflect our faith and draw us closer to God. As we strive to live out these principles, we can find assurance in the promise that God is with us, guiding and strengthening us in our journey toward holiness.

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The Gospel 16: The Unpopular Message

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 5, 2024 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

When we preach the Gospel, we need to understand that while it is great good news for the salvation of man, it is also a grave scandal. Many people trip over the Gospel, and they DO understand the scandal. They know they are sinners, but for Jesus to die for them is unfathomable. And it’s not merely Jesus dying out of love for us that trips them, it is more specifically Jesus taking on the wrath of the Father for sin upon Himself that trips them. If it was merely Satan carrying out the execution, some may not object, but the actual executioner of holy judgment is by God the Father.

This gives rise the argument of “Cosmic Child Abuse.” Dad got mad at his kid and took it out on the dog. That’s what some have said. How can God be called good and kind and loving if He takes out His anger on His own Son? The Gospel is a scandal. In order to save mankind, there had to be a substitute who had no sin Himself, because the righteous justice of God has to be met. God is not going to let any evil go by without dealing with it. And that is what many objectors to Christianity do not like; they know their deeds are evil, and the mere mention of a righteous and holy God offends them because it means that their judgment day is approaching.

This message is very unpopular. Emile Ramos, James White, and Paul Washer did a 30-minute joint video titled “Unpopular” emphasizing that the Gospel message is not going to please many audiences, because the core of the Gospel message is that man is sick, depraved, and completely helpless. And after salvation, man is still useless, weak, frail, and completely and wholly dependent upon Christ. People mock Christianity because we “use Jesus like a crutch.” I correct them: “No, it’s not like a crutch. It’s more like life-support.” The Gospel is because we are dead without Jesus. That’s not going to win over many crowds.

Paul was given an opportunity to speak to the intellectual of intellectuals at Mars Hill in Athens. If he were interested in winning a crowd over and getting people on his side, there was no better opportunity. He had just been driven out of two consecutive towns in Thessalonica and Berea for preaching the Gospel and was sent ahead to Athens to try to cool down and let the people cool down. And Paul, alone, waiting for his team to come join him, got provoked. He saw the idolatry in the streets, and he could not wait for backup. He began preaching. When he gave his famous defense at Mars Hill, Paul did the last thing he could have done to win the crowd over. While he did reference the religious idolatry of Athens, he basically went in and said, “You are doing everything wrong and don’t even know who you are worshiping or why. Here is the true God and how His worship should be done.” Paul had to sweep the rug from under them and plant a new foundation so he could go to his destination: Jesus and the cross. And the audience lost it the moment Paul spoke of the resurrection. Most mocked, some wanted to hear more, and only a few individuals believed.

The Gospel is not going to be well-liked. If you want approval, praise, and the rapport with men, that may be all you will ever get, and you will have renounced Christ in doing so. Most won’t like the Gospel message delivered correctly. Our job is to preach the Word, even if no one receives it. As Christians, our job is to share the faith, even if no one will hear it. And the church took a major turn off the main road when they decided that their numbers were not good enough and so they decided to pursue “seekers” instead of pursuing God. Instead of giving the unpopular message that God gave us to give, they chose to go for popularity and the approval of sinful, wicked men. There is a severe problem with this: sinful men do not want God, not as He truly is. So to keep sinful men around, they church had to change God. Instead of being the sovereign, righteous king who is coming back to judge the wicked and rescue the righteous, “God” became just a nice, fuzzy blanket to keep you warm in front of a fire. It’s truly blasphemous what most have done in their depiction of God.

And when Christendom as a whole goes that direction, when the few people who still stand for the true God and the true message, we are the ones who get ostracized for rocking the boat. I see it happening very often. I’ll say the hard thing and the backlash is quite sharp. It does not matter how much “love” or “tact” I give it. It is rejected, and the problem is “me” because what I say is not letting “them” play this game they call “Christianity,” a game that God does not play.

There is one detail about the Gospel message that drives it to such an unpopular level: the denial of self. When we receive the Gospel, we are admitting that we have nothing in and of ourselves that is good that we can bring to the table. Getting us to that point requires us to acknowledge that we never had anything or ever will have anything good in us. Before Christ, we had nothing to start with. After, any goodness we have comes from Christ, not us, even in our regenerate spirit. And even harder to receive is that to be a Christian, it is going to cost us everything – not merely our sinful lifestyles of doing bad things, but everything. Jobs, finances, family, friends, hobbies, entertainment, sports, your education, your reputation, everything is secondary or less compared to Jesus.

Paul was the intellect of intellects, the Benjamite of the Benjamites, the most zealous upholder of the law, and when he met Christ, he saw everything he was pursuing as total dung, worthless, rubbish. He scrapped everything and started over with Jesus as the #1 and as the center. He still learned and knew many other things, but they had a new focus and a new place in their value. His faith in Christ cost him a LOT, and throughout his missionary journeys, his greatest enemies were the Jews – those who knew who he was and deemed him a total traitor. There is a cost to being a Christian. There is also a cost to proclaiming the faith. And one thing you cannot have with the truth is friendships with those who oppose it. Something has to go; it is your choice which.

The Gospel is an unpopular message. Next week, we’ll look at different ways the Gospel has been watered down and diluted so it will be more “acceptable” to sinful man.

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2 Corinthians 6:3-13

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 1, 2024 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children —open wide your hearts also.
- 2 Corinthians 6:3-13

For quite a while now in this letter, Paul has been discussing various aspects of being an apostle. In this passage, he shares more about the hardships he endures, emphasizing the integrity and perseverance required in the Christian faith.

Paul begins here in verse 3 by addressing the importance of integrity in ministry. He and his fellow workers strive not to cause others to falter in their faith. This commitment to avoiding actions that might lead others astray is crucial for maintaining the credibility of their ministry. It is not at all surprising that Paul was accused of various things, but his main concern was that any of those accusations would not be based in the truth. As a minister of reconciliation, he should keep a clean conscience and do what is right as a good example for those to whom he was sharing the gospel message.

In verses 4-5, Paul provides a list of adversities he and his companions face. The mention of "great endurance" suggests that these challenges are not occasional but ongoing. Paul highlights physical and emotional sufferings, such as beatings and imprisonments, which were common experiences for early Christian missionaries. This vivid depiction of their struggles serves to illustrate the depth of their commitment and the high cost of their ministry. They did not just face a little social discomfort but rather many physical adversities, including beatings and imprisonments.

He continues his list in verses 6-7, but here it has a more positive spin. Rather than simply focusing on the negatives, Paul and his team remain steadfast in their virtues. They exhibit purity, understanding, patience, and kindness—qualities that reflect the character of Christ—even in the face of the adversities listed previously. The mention of the Holy Spirit and sincere love highlights that their ministry is not merely human effort but is empowered by divine presence and genuine compassion. Their truthful speech and reliance on God's power are crucial for combating the challenges they face, depicted metaphorically as "weapons of righteousness" that they hold in both hands, reminiscent of the armor of God we see in Ephesians 6.

In verses 8-10, Paul brings up contrasts that they face in ministry. They experience both honor and dishonor, positive and negative reports. Despite being genuine, they are sometimes seen as impostors. Known to some, they are obscure to others. These contrasts highlight the paradoxes of Christian ministry, where external appearances often give a false representation of deeper spiritual truths. Despite facing death and sorrow, they live with joy and spiritual richness. This section underscores the resilience and inner strength that faith provides, not only for Paul and his companions but for all believers throughout time.

Paul concludes this section in verses 11-13 with an appeal to the Corinthians. He emphasizes the openness and affection he and his colleagues have shown, urging the Corinthians to reciprocate. This plea for mutual love and understanding reflects the relational aspect of ministry. Paul’s use of paternal language ("I speak as to my children") underscores his deep care and concern for their spiritual well-being.

There are several key points that Paul makes here that we need to apply to our lives as followers of Jesus today.

First, have integrity and avoid causing others to stumble. Paul’s emphasis on not placing stumbling blocks before others challenges us to consider how our actions impact those around us. In our own lives, this might mean being mindful of our behavior, ensuring it aligns with our professed values, and avoiding actions that could cause others to falter in their faith.

Second, be prepared to face adversity and endure it. The list of hardships Paul endures serves as a powerful reminder of the perseverance required in the Christian walk. Today, while we might not face physical beatings or imprisonments, we encounter various trials that test our faith. Paul's example encourages us to endure these with steadfastness, knowing that our struggles are part of a larger spiritual journey.

Third, live out Christian virtues. Paul and his companions exemplify virtues such as purity, understanding, patience, and kindness. In our own context, these qualities remain essential. They not only reflect our faith but also serve as a testimony to others. By relying on the Holy Spirit and demonstrating sincere love, we can navigate life's challenges with grace and truth.

Fourth, realize that there will be paradoxes and things that won’t make worldly sense in our faith. The paradoxes Paul describes—glory and dishonor, sorrow and rejoicing—mirror the complexities of our faith journey. These contrasts remind us that external circumstances do not define our spiritual reality. In moments of sorrow, we can find joy. In times of lack, we can experience spiritual abundance. Embracing these paradoxes allows us to find strength and hope in seemingly contradictory situations.

Finally, focus on the relational aspect of ministry. Paul’s heartfelt appeal to the Corinthians highlights the importance of relationships in ministry. His openness and vulnerability set a model for how we should engage with others. Building genuine, reciprocal relationships based on love and trust is crucial for fostering a supportive and nurturing faith community.

By internalizing these teachings from Paul’s message here and applying them in our lives, we can navigate our faith journey with resilience and grace, reflecting the love and truth of Christ in all that we do.

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The Gospel 15: Preach One Message

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 28, 2024 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
1 Corinthians 2:2

Paul had one message as he went out from city to city to plant churches and to make disciples of Christ: he preached Christ, and he preached the crucifixion and all that came with it. He absolutely knew far more things than that, but he saw no value in any other topic unless they could point to Christ. Paul knew the Greek culture and Greek mythology, and that’s why in Acts 17 when in Athens, Paul could not only use their own statue to the unknown God but cite two Greek poets who had echoed the truth of who Christ is, even if they did not know it. But in all his preaching, he had one goal and one destination: to proclaim Christ.

Paul understood what it means to be an evangelist. He described himself as a herald. In those days, a herald was the official “news reporter.” A herald would get a message from the king, go to the assigned town, get his soapbox, and then proclaim the message, precisely as the king gave it. The herald would only clarify when questions were asked but never depart from the message. At any point, if word got back to the king that the herald did not give the message in the exact way the king meant it, the herald would be put to death.

The prophets in the Old Testament were treated the same way. If they were going to claim to speak for God, they had to have a 100% fulfillment rate. Any prophecy not fulfilled in their lifetime was held until validation or failure took place. God had a purpose in all this: He wants any who speaks for Him to say exactly what He said and only what He said. It is amazing how God chose to use any of us at all to give His message, but He has chosen to work through weak, frail, fallible, and untrustworthy humans to get His message across. This is not what man would ever think of, but it absolutely is what a God who wants to prove without question that it was His doing and not anyone else’s.

What does this mean? It means we have no say in what the message is. I can picture many readers picking up on that and immediately thinking that everyone has to listen to what I say because I am the only one with the truth. That is not what I am saying at all. But those who think that way are doing precisely what Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for doing: searching and seeking their favorite celebrities and chasing opinions and appearances instead of chasing after Christ. If anyone takes my advice here properly, they won’t need me afterwards, because all I am doing is pointing the way. My book Biblical Foundations has a testimony of a couple getting back to Christ and their marriage being saved. I did not write about marriage; I wrote about following Christ. That saved their marriage. It wasn’t any fancy trick. It wasn’t special counseling (though I do not knock a right application for that). It was simply preaching Christ.

As I wrote over the last several weeks, the Gospel reaches every type of person; I just sampled out seven categories. It is the Gospel that has the power of God unto salvation in every area of life. The Gospel can even deliver someone from writer’s block or answer some scientific mystery by putting everything in the right perspective. Knowing the supremacy of God and how He will determine how much we need to know and when we need to know it can often remove blinders that keep us from seeing the answers. The Gospel has it all, so we need to preach the Gospel as God gave it.

One of my greatest peeves today is when I hear someone professing some very obscure teaching found nowhere in Scripture and then say that “the Gospel doesn’t change” or “it’s not necessary to deal with that to be a Christian.” Watch out for that, because most of the time, those are mere excuses to say, “I can believe whatever I want as long as I agree to a core set of doctrines, and I’ll get into heaven regardless.” That mindset is not a Christian one; it’s a humanistic position that is using God as a means for the self’s end. With that mindset, these people are not seeking after Christ because He is worthy to be worshiped; they are using Jesus as a means to get to paradise where they can celebrate eternity without any regard for their sin.

This false gospel came primarily in the mid-1800s spearheaded by Charles Finney who sought to make sinners as comfortable as possible for when they came to repent of their sins. He is the one who made the “altar call” popular and just by professing doctrines one is proclaimed to be “saved”. That is nonsense. The Gospel was changed from man needing God to save him to God needing man in heaven so He would not be lonely and from God-honoring to man-glorifying. That’s not the Gospel. I’ll address more of these issues as I continue in the series, but I will wrap up this post with these final words.

We have one message to share: one message and one message only. Anything we have to say must have that goal and target in mind no matter where we start from. Every text of Scripture is about Jesus in some way, shape, or form. Therefore, there is a message of the Gospel that comes out of every passage of Scripture, from Creation to the Fall, to the Flood, to the Tower of Babel, to the Old Testament history, to the law, to the judges, to the kings, and to the prophets. They all point to Jesus. We are to proclaim Jesus no matter what our context is, but we are ALSO to proclaim Jesus as He is revealed and not as anything else. Many people would indeed be better off staying silent than opening their mouths and preaching something other than what God said. That is why so few of us should be teachers. It is a serious position to take, but those who do it faithfully will be greatly rewarded. I have much more to share about how to preach the Gospel and how to handle responses to the Gospel over the next few weeks.

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2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 24, 2024 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

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. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 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 5:20-6:2

Right before this, Paul wrote about how all of us as believers are part of the ministry of reconciliation and what that should look like in our lives. Here, he elaborates more on how to live that out by living our lives as Christ’s ambassadors.

In verse 20, Paul uses the metaphor of ambassadors to describe the role of believers. Ambassadors represent their home country in a foreign land, carrying the authority and message of their homeland. Similarly, Christians represent Christ in the world, carrying His message of reconciliation. This role is both a privilege and a responsibility. When you’re an ambassador, you’re not living in your homeland but rather in a foreign territory. Our true home is in heaven with God, but we are living in this sinful world that is not truly our home.

The authority to be an ambassador has to be given to you; it's not something we naturally have. We are given authority by our relationship with Christ, but we also have the responsibility to represent Him well. As ambassadors of Christ, the opportunities to show God's love are not always easy. He loves us even when we disobey Him, but that perfect love is not often easy for us to live out. God is going to send us into places as His ambassadors, to do His work, and to bring about reconciling the world to Himself.

The phrase "as though God were making his appeal through us" emphasizes the gravity and importance of this role as ambassadors. Believers are the means through which God communicates His message of reconciliation to the world. Paul’s plea of “Be reconciled to God” is urgent and heartfelt, reflecting the importance of this message. It is a call for everyone to accept the reconciliation that God offers through Christ.

Verse 21 encompasses the heart of the gospel message. Christ, who was sinless, took on the burden of our sins. The phrase “to be sin for us” signifies the depth of Christ’s sacrifice. He bore the penalty of sin, taking upon Himself the consequences that humanity deserved.

The purpose of this sacrificial act is “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” This statement highlights the transformative power of Christ’s work. Through His death and resurrection, believers are not only forgiven but also made righteous in God’s sight. This righteousness is not based on human effort but is a gift from God, received through faith in Christ.

This is where chapter 5 ends and chapter 6 begins in our English translations, but this is one of those times that it’s important to note that Paul did not include chapter and verse markings when he originally wrote this letter to the first-century church in Corinth. The ideas in the first two verses of chapter 6 fit well with this idea of ambassadors that Paul has been talking about.

Paul begins verse 1 with a powerful exhortation. As God’s co-workers, believers are partners in God’s mission. This partnership underscores the importance of active participation in God’s work. Paul’s plea is for the Corinthians not to receive God’s grace “in vain.” This phrase suggests the possibility of receiving God’s grace without allowing it to transform one’s life. To receive God’s grace in vain would mean to accept the gift of salvation but not to live out its implications. Paul urges the Corinthians to let God’s grace have its full effect on their lives, leading to transformation and active participation in the ministry of reconciliation.

Paul concludes this section in verse 2 with a quotation from Isaiah 49:8, emphasizing the urgency of responding to God’s grace. The time of my favor and the day of salvation refer to the present moment when God’s offer of reconciliation is available. Paul’s declaration that "now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation" underscores the immediacy and availability of God’s grace. This call to action reminds us that the opportunity for reconciliation and transformation is now. It is an invitation to respond to God’s grace without delay, embracing the new life that is available in Christ.

As ambassadors of Christ, believers carry the message of reconciliation to a broken and divided world, reflecting God’s love and grace in their interactions. The urgency of Paul’s plea reminds us that the time to respond to God’s grace is now. This passage challenges us to live out the implications of our reconciliation with God, embracing the new creation we are in Christ and actively participating in His mission of reconciliation.

May we as believers faithfully fulfill our role as His ambassadors, bringing the message of reconciliation to all who need to hear it!

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

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