“Set In Legacy” ( 2 Corinthians 5: 19 – 20, WYC, KNOX, KJV, ESV ) by Carley Evans

ImageApparently, Paul recognizes he and the other apostles are the personal property – the legacy – of God. Christ the Son presents them as gifts to God the Father. Christ reconciles them to God through His death and resurrection. As a direct result, God “puts in” them the Word of Reconciliation. Therefore Paul and the other apostles know firsthand what it means to be forgiven, to have sins, trespasses, and debts no longer counted against them.

Paul writes to the church at Corinth, “We are ambassadors,” and as such, “we implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 KJV

” ‘Yes’ To Us” (Romans 15: 13, HCSB) by Carley Evans

We hope, says Paul, “by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Without Him, we have no hope; we have no peace; we have no joy. God — the Holy Spirit — is the seal who is “a down payment in our hearts” guaranteeing our inheritance. (2 Corinthians 1: 22) “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is preached among you by [Paul] and Silvanus and Timothy does not become ‘Yes and No’; on the contrary, a final ‘Yes’ comes in Him. For every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in Him.” (2 Corinthians 1: 19 – 20)

Therefore, “[we] stand by faith.” (2 Corinthians 2: 1) As we believe in Christ, we find our joy and peace in Him, in knowing that God says, “Yes’ to us rather than ‘No!” God the Father is able to say ‘Yes’ to us because His Son dies for us, washes us clean of our sin, and deposits in us His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes us holy, setting us apart for God the Father. He enables us to do the good works God prepares in advance for us. “For it is God who is working in [us], enabling [us] both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” (Philippians 2: 13)

“So then, my brothers [and sisters]..in this manner stand firm in the Lord, dear friends.” (Philippians 4: 1)

“The Letter Kills; The Spirit Transforms” (2 Corinthians 3: 6, ESV) by Carley Evans

Paul and Timothy write that they are commended not by themselves but by the Corinthian church body, each member being their “letter of recommendation, written on [Paul and Timothy’s] hearts, to be known and read by all.” (2 Corinthians 3: 2) They are not boasting; the “confidence that [they] have is through Christ toward God.” (2 Corinthians 3: 4) Paul and Timothy recognize that they “are not sufficient in [themselves] to claim anything as coming from [themselves].” (2 Corinthians 2: 5) They know that “[their] sufficiency is from God.”

“God has made [them] competent to be ministers.”

And of what ministry are Paul and Timothy? Theirs is the ministry of the new covenant in which God places His Spirit within His people, writing His will upon our hearts. Paul and Timothy are not of the “ministry of condemnation, and death” but of the “ministry of righteousness, and life.”

“For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

“Only through Christ, is [the veil] taken away. When one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3: 14, 16)

Peter writes, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.” (1 Peter 2: 16 – 17)

And Paul reminds, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5: 1)

“Now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God,how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” (Galatians 4: 9)

Paul tells us that the ministry of condemnation and death has been “brought to an end;” there is then no rationale for going back under the yoke of the letter of the law, for “the letter kills.” We are free in Christ. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes form the Lord who is Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3: 18)