GREAT LIFE MOTTO:
Meanwhile we groan (v2)
It may not sound very uplifting or inspiring, but it actually is. We have life pretty good here in SW Minnesota (or wherever you're tuning in from), so good that most of us are not very well accustomed to suffering, or groaning as Paul puts it here. The things we see (and touch, taste and smell for that matter... ok, maybe not always smell) are all so good. These good things are God's blessings for sure, but in the midst of our plenty we need to remember that this world and it's small pleasures is not our home. Instead, we must live a life in which we groan for Christ to come back and make all things new. In other words, "we must live by faith, not by sight (v7)." Remind yourself to groan often.
BUT DON'T GROAN ALL THE TIME: There's a wonderful tension in this chapter. On one hand, we groan because we know life will be so much better when Christ returns or calls us to be with Him. On the other, we should not groan so often that we become useless here in the present world. If v2 is a good personal motto, then v9 is a good personal mission statement:
Make it your goal to please God whether you are at home in the body or away from it.
WOULD CHRIST BE A CALVINIST? 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.
Once again there's tension in this teaching (tension, by the way, 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).
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God reconciled you to Himself through Christ (v18)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Make it your goal to please God in all that you do (v9).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: