Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, April 5, 2015

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In chapter 6 the Apostle Paul continues his defense of his ministry. He had admonished the Corinthians; now he reminds them that their plight is an urgent one. “Now is the right time! Look, now is the day of salvation!” (6:2). He reminds them to pay attention. It reminds me of a church member who had a bad habit of talking and distracting others in church. One day while I was preaching I sent him a text message: “Pay attention.” After a minute or two he got the text and sat up straight. Afterward, he asked me: “How did you text while preaching?” I told him that I had the spiritual gift of texting. If the Apostle Paul were alive today I think he would send out an urgent media release using social media to remind people that our spiritual lives are important and that we should not delay making a decision about Jesus Christ.

Paul makes his appeal for spiritual readiness right after quoting Isaiah 49:8 where he refers to the “day of salvation” as having arrived in Jesus Christ. He goes on to remind his readers of the need for “great endurance through problems, disasters, and stressful situations” (vs. 4). Yet what makes ministry commendable isn’t the bad things that happen, but rather, the service done through the Holy Spirit. This results in “genuine love, telling the truth, and God’s power” (vs. 6b-7).

Finally, the Apostle Paul brings his personal defense of his ministry to a close. He reminds them of the fatherly role that he has played in their lives. As a father, he admonishes them not to get mixed up with those “who don’t believe” because “we are the temple of the living God” (vs. 14, 16). Even more important is the reminder that God is our heavenly Father. It is this understanding of a personal, yet transcendent, heavenly Father that distinguished the worldview of early Christians and Jews from all other world religions.  

Michael Campbell