Today, read 2 Corinthians 5.
Yesterday in 2 Corinthians 4, we read that Paul and his companions did not lose heart despite the hardships they faced because they have a ministry that transforms lives by the power of Christ. Today’s reading continued the theme of serving the Lord despite the costs that come with it. Another reason not to lose heart is eternity–“we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven” (v. 1b). Believers should long for eternity (vv. 2-8) but live for Christ with the time we have on this earth (vv. 9-10). Living for Christ means reaching out to non-believers with the life-transforming power of the gospel message (vv. 11-21), so this is why Paul and his team kept traveling, kept giving the gospel despite the pain of persecution and the difficulty of dealing with disrespectful churches.
There are so many powerful verses in this chapter!
- verse 7: “For we live by faith, not by sight.”
- verse 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.”
- verse 11: “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.”
- verse 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.”
- verse 17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.”
- verse 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.”
- verse 21: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
But the one that stands out to me today is verse 9, “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” Pleasing God is not the same as trying to earn his love or his salvation. That’s impossible; God loved us unconditionally when we were still sinners and saved us as a gift of his grace alone. But, once saved by God’s grace, we want to become holy like he is and to rescue sinners like he did. God is pleased with these things because they are the evidence of the life of the Holy Spirit within us (v. 5) and because they show that we are “no longer living for” ourselves “but for him who died for” us “and was raised again” (v. 15).
Now that we are God’s children, our goal is to please him with our lives. Is this a goal that we think about daily? Whatever you face today, consider what it would look like to please the Lord in the things you pay attention to, the decisions and choices you make, and what you do with the time in front of you.