Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Word for Wednesday, August 4

And it actually is Wednesday, for a change. Will wonders never cease?

Continuing in 2 Corinthians, chapter 6, the first 13 verses:
And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain -- for He says, "At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you"; behold, now is "the acceptable time," behold, now is "the day of salvation" -- giving no cause for offense in anything, in order that the ministry be not discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known; as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death; as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.
I pause here momentarily to call your attention to the fact that the preceding ten verses are a single sentence! Let's note here that, while all scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), He apparently does not simply dictate it; Paul's style is certainly his own, to say the least! Now, to continue:
Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide. You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections. Now in a like exchange -- I speak as to children -- open wide to us also.
The apostle says that he is "commended to God" by a long list of things, both bad and good. The list includes many kinds of trials and abuses; but it ends in sources of ability, power, and inspiration. Is this not a picture of the Christian life in general? Seemingly contradictory opposites are made to work together for the accomplishment of the divine purpose. We don't know (yet) all of that purpose, and I daresay we know very little of how all that we experience in this earthly life are made by Him to work His will. But if we believe in His power and His goodness, we can have confidence that, at the end of our endurance, all will be very well indeed.

And that is good.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The list includes many kinds of trials and abuses; but it ends in sources of ability, power, and inspiration.

This, I think, may be the most visible work of the Holy Spirit. Everyone knows how their flesh reacts to certain trials. When they see someone reacting in genuine love to a situation in which they would be calling for blood (the shooting of the Amish children comes to mind) they are forced to acknowledge that something is different.

Unfortunately, we don't often follow those promptings of the Holy Spirit, and consequently we react just as the world does. Not much of a witness there.