2 Corinthians 5 Reading Guide
v1-11 - This chapter opens with some of the richest tension in the Bible. Remember, in theology tension is good. When you have forces pulling you in different directions, you remain stable.
On one hand, we read about the awesome, eternal house that's already prepared for us in heaven.
Yet right now we groan and are burdened (v2, 4) as we long for this heavenly dwelling.
But this present life is not a mistake or something we should look to short circuit.
God "fashioned us for this very purpose (v5)," meaning you are where you are right now for a divine reason.
God has given you His Spirit now as "a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (v5)."
So here's what this means for you today in whatever is facing you:
"Live by faith, and not by sight (v7)."
Make it your goal to please the Lord (v9).
Remember, although you are fully saved by grace and not your own works, you will be judged, "so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (v10)."
v12-16 - Calvinism is a system of thought which emphasizes the sovereignty of God in all aspects of life. One of the most talked about aspects of God's sovereignty is how He has predestined all things in a way where He chose those whom He would save before He created anything. Worthington CRC is very much a Calvinistic church, but doesn't in seem like v14-15 paint a universalist (the belief that all people are saved) picture? Look at how many times Paul uses the word 'all:' "...we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And Christ died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves."
There are lots of reasons these verses don't teach that all people will be saved, but the biggest reason is the way Paul begins to summarize this passage in v17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come..." Clearly, not all people are in Christ.
The way we express this concept theologically is called the doctrine of Limited Atonement. This means that Christ's death was of sufficient value to pay for all sins, but that the saving value of His death is only made efficient (effective) for those He chose for salvation.
v17-21 - Once again there's tension in this teaching (remember, tension is a good thing and it's present in all good theology). While it's true that only those whom God has chosen beforehand will be saved, we have no idea who those people are at this point. That's why you need to be an ambassador for Christ, imploring all people to be reconciled to God (v20).
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE: The tension we've seen in 2 Cor. 5 is present throughout the Bible. See if you can spot it in Psalm 62:11-12.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: The shortest verse in this chapter is a concise principle about faith. What is this principle? (It’s found in verse 7.)
Does being reminded of the tension we live in (having a fully prepared home in heaven even right now as we groan on earth) make fulfilling the purpose God has put you here for easier or harder?
Question 1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God who fashioned you here on earth and who has built you a heavenly home.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that your faith will be strengthened so that you can live by faith and not by sight (v7).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: