Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2 Corinthians 1:12-23

12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God's grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both "Yes, yes" and "No, no"?
18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
23 I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth.

Questions to consider:
  • What factors, does Paul claim, govern his conduct with regard to Christians and non-Christians?
  • Characterize Paul’s positive relation to the Corinthians.
  • In what ways would your life have to change to be able to similarly characterize your relationships?
  • What do verses 18-20 say about the nature and promises of God?
  • How does Jesus Christ fulfill every promise of God?

Possibilities for prayer:

Paul’s language of God’s anointing, setting of a seal upon us, and putting his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit is a lovely image and rather poetic. Isn’t it kind of amazing to think about what that means for our lives? Having the Holy Spirit around means that we’re able to do all kinds of cool things. And belonging to the God of the universe can’t be a bad thing! Let’s thank God for these blessings that Paul has laid out in this passage, expressing true gratitude for all that these words Paul wrote so long ago mean, even today.