Questions for Littles: What opportunity was Paul giving the Corinthians (v12)? What kind of people were the Corinthians dealing with? What did the Corinthians need to be able to say about Paul, for their own sakes (v13)? Whose love was pressing and pushing Paul to speak this way (v14)? What is true if One died for all (v14)? How does v15 describe the life of those who have died in Christ—for whom do they live? According to what are they not to regard anyone, including Christ (v16)? If someone is in Christ, what is true about him (v17)? Who has done this (v18)? What is this change called a ministry of? What was it necessary not to impute to them, if they were going to be reconciled to God? What do Christ’s ambassadors plead (v20)? For what reason did God make Him who knew no sin to be sin (v21)? What are Paul and his companions pleading with them not to do in 6:1? What day is the day when you hear how Jesus died so that we could be forgiven and begin to live for Him instead of ourselves (v2)?This week’s Prayer for Help and Confession of Sin came from 2Corinthians 5:12-6:2. Here, we learn that a critical part of the gospel is the good news that we no longer have to live for ourselves.
Yes, forgiveness is entirely by grace alone—by that glorious substitution in v21. God made Christ, who had not sinned at all, to be punished on the cross as sin itself, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. This is why when we believe in Jesus, our sins are not imputed—that is, not counted—against us (v19).
But this is just the beginning. It was the guilt of these sins that kept us from receiving the glorious gift of being made new creatures. Jesus took the guilt, and He makes us new creatures.
This is why v15 tells us that the reason that He died for us was that we should no longer live for ourselves but for Him. To be made holy is a gift that we don’t deserve. So Jesus took upon Himself what we deserve, so that we could be made holy!
This is why someone who claims to be forgiven but not holy is literally playing with the fire of Hell. 6:1 calls this kind of thinking “to receive the grace of God in vain.” The word translated “vain” here is the same as the word translated “foolish” in most translations of James 2:20, and both are describing the same person: the one who claims to have a saving faith that doesn’t produce serving faithfulness.
Paul is literally begging the Corinthians not to think this way. It’s a salvation issue. “Today is the day of salvation!” he says. “Live like those whose chief desire is to please the Lord before whom you will one day stand!”
This is a word that aims at the perfection of His finished work in us, but knows that we will not have that perfection in this life. For us in the here and now, it’s a word about priorities. What are your priorities? For whom are you living? Is your sin an enemy whose days are numbered? Or is thinking about Christ an irritation or inconvenience to you because you’d really like to just keep living for yourself?
What is one way that you could be living for Him who died for you and rose again?Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly I Am with You” or HB303 “Be Thou My Vision”