Today I read chapters 1-9 of 2 Corinthians. Paul has not had a chance to visit the believers in Corinth since his last letter. If you remember, he confronted them on some very serious issues, calling the church to break fellowship with those who claimed to be Christ-followers yet continued in sinful lifestyles. In this second letter, he expresses how much it grieved his heart to be so forthright, but that he has heard from Titus that they responded in repentance, and this makes his heart glad. Holding one another accountable as brothers and sisters is painful, but when it produces the harvest of godly sorrow leading to repentance, it is worthwhile. (By the way, he makes a point in this letter that if a person truly repents, they are to be received back into fellowship with open arms.)
Like all of Paul’s letters, 2 Corinthians is filled with wisdom and encouragement for our daily lives as we seek to walk in ways that please God. In 6:14-7:1 he urges us to “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” Sometimes we think we are “giving up” things for God, that it is a “sacrifice” to avoid what the world sees as fun and fulfilling. But the opposite is true; when we yoke our lives to ungodliness, we are sacrificing what is far better, far more fulfilling, the presence of God in our daily lives.
One of the most revealing passages is found in 4:1-6. Paul has just described believers as “the pleasing aroma of Christ” (2:14-17). To those who are being saved, we are the aroma of life, but to those who are perishing, we are an aroma of death. We are ministers of the new covenant; we are to “set forth the truth plainly” realizing that the gospel is veiled. The god of this world (Satan) has “blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
God is the only one who can open our eyes to understand the gospel. He has “made His light to shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
What’s our takeaway? As a Christ-follower, you are surrounded by people you know and love who do not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, the way, the truth, and the life. If we think we can make someone see and believe, we’re going to be frustrated and disheartened. Just as God opened our eyes, He must open theirs.
Maybe you’re reading this, and you just don’t believe Jesus is who He says He is. You just can’t logically accept that what God’s word says is true. It’s too narrow, too old-fashioned. Not relevant. Fine for other people, but not for you. My friend, I get it. Your eyes are blinded by the god of this world, but you think you can see. If you sincerely want to know the truth, I challenge you to ask God to take the blinders off. Ask Him to shine His light in your heart, so that you can see. Stop building your life on what you see…since “what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” If you truly want to know the truth, He will show you.