2 Corinthians 5

This devotional is written by Long Okada.

2 Corinthians 5

Awaiting the new body
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due to us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

The ministry of reconciliation
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are 'out of our mind,' as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Reflection

Can you have faith in someone that you’ve never met? How can you believe in something that seems so unreal? These are some of the fun questions that I get when I tell people that I work for a church.
Although people tend to be more skeptical towards everything with no concrete evidence these days, believing in someone or something is something we all consciously and/or unconsciously do in our everyday life. Just to give you some examples, I’m writing this devotional on the 11 hours flight to Japan. I don’t know any of the airplane pilots' names and have never seen them, but I have faith in these airplane pilots and their ability to fly well enough that I trust them with my life even after binge-watching YouTube videos about several airplane accidents. We also learn that Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492 in a history course. We’ve never met him nor seen video footage of him finding America. How do we know if he really discovered America? What do we need to believe that Christopher Columbus indeed discovered America?
So, the big question is how can we have faith in Jesus Christ and Paul the Apostle? We have never met them, don’t have their C.V.s nor Instagram posts to verify what they claimed actually happened about 2000 years ago. In Anglican Church, we often use the term “three legged stool” to explain our foundation of faith: Scriptures, Tradition, and Reasons. (And also Experience if you’re Methodist.) We discover the word of God through reading the Bible, learn wisdom and inspiration from Saints and others throughout history, and make sense of God’s creation from different viewpoints.
In this chapter, Paul encourages Corinthians to live by faith not by sight in order to be reconciled to God. In verse 5, Paul tells Corinthians that “Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” We may not have actual video footage of Jesus Christ, but God shows his grace and love towards us through the power of the Holy Spirit today. Some people encounter the Holy Spirit through a profound physical experience, and others experience the power of the Holy Spirit in a moment of silent solitude.
We have scriptures and much wisdom and inspiration from past generations. It is now our responsibility to proclaim God through sharing our own experiences of encountering the Holy Spirit. I’ve seen the works of the Holy Spirit through my friends’ kindness and generosity. I’ve also encountered the Holy Spirit when I struggled to wake up and start my days. Let me tell you that God’s love is greater than anything we can experience in this world. Thanks be to God!

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