In the letter known as 2 Corinthians, Paul continued encouraging & instructing the church in Corinth (295).
Both here on earth & eventually in heaven, the aim of Christian life is to please God. Here on earth, Paul saw himself as God’s ambassador to the world. As such, he realized that he was always proclaiming — in his words & by his deeds — that we are reconciled to God solely through the sacrifice of his son Jesus.
Paul wanted the Corinthian believers to see themselves in this way, too. Strengthened by the Holy Spirit, we are called to share this message of reconciliation with the world. However, we must always maintain a careful degree of separation from the world, because the world is ruled by God’s enemy, Satan.
For various reasons, the Christian church in Jerusalem had fallen on hard times. They were being persecuted by unbelieving Jews & by some Roman officials, to the extent that many had fallen into serious poverty. By contrast, the church in Corinth was well off, so Paul repeatedly encouraged the Corinthians to support the impoverished Christians in Jerusalem. But Paul emphasized that their gift wouldn’t be much of a gift, unless it was a willing sacrifice, like that which Jesus made for us.
Paul was especially concerned by false teaching about God in the Corinthian church. Often, false teachers will mix the truth of God with the lies of the world. Paul wanted the Corinthians to be on their guard against this. But when contending with false teachers, Paul wanted the Corinthians to remain humble before God.
God had shown Paul that, in his flesh, he was not sufficient to do his job for Jesus; it was only by God’s grace that he was sufficient to do his job for Jesus.
So Paul concluded his letter with a warning. When we preach that all our power comes from Jesus, we must be careful to examine ourselves — to be sure we’re practicing what we preach. We must be careful to rely on Jesus, not on ourselves.
God, please help me to love relying on Your grace.
(295) 2 Corinthians 5-13