Chapter One Dear Corinthians, This letter comes from Paul, who God called to be an apostle & Timothy. I write to you in Praise of God, the Father of Jesus Christ. Praise him for the blessings of each day which we tend to get used to. For truly God is the father of mercies, He is the source of all the good things that come from above and a comfort when we experience those things that come from beneath. He is always there to comfort us. And that comfort abounds further because we are in turn able to bring that comfort to others when they suffer. We are consoled in our suffering by the fact that we are following in the steps of Jesus Christ who suffered more than us all. We are also comforted by the fact that such opposition from the enemy is to be expected by those who make the effort to reach others with the gospel. But when folk believe and are saved, like yourselves, then you are our joy, and you make any suffering worthwhile. Recently we had to remind ourselves that Christ suffered unto death, for when we were in Asia, we thought we were going to die also, but the Lord delivered us, and we trust He will continue to do so. We are mindful also of your prayers for us. So now you and all those who prayed for us can rejoice in answered prayer. We ourselves rejoice in the fact that by God’s grace we have been able to bring the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ to you in our preaching and in our writing. Though we are aware that some doubt the authority and sincerity of our message to you. In this regard, I will tell you why we never came to Corinth, after we had promised we would. We certainly hoped to pay a return visit after we had been to Macedonia, on our way back to Judea, but God had other plans. Without doubt, we ourselves would liked to have come, but we are not led by our own personal choices but by the Spirit. So contrary to what some may say, we are men of our word. Just as God who we serve is faithful to his word. His promises are not sometimes “yes” and sometimes “no”. When we truly believe them in our hearts they are always fulfilled. However, we still believe that the Spirit will indeed guide us and enable us to visit you in God’s timing. He is the one who is in control of all things in the Kingdom. (The promises of God are like seeds sown in the ground, and at the right time God brings them to fruition. Sometimes many years later, but no promise truly believed in the heart ever fails) However, I believe now that it was better for you that I did not come just at that time. For no doubt I would have been quite hard with my message to you, in the light of the sin which seems to have been in the church. But my letter to you was no doubt sufficient. Ch. 2 I am planning to come but I want to avoid any ill-feeling between us when I come, as though you think I am against you in any way. On the contrary you are my joy. I would not want you to be sad, otherwise I will be sad. When I wrote those strong words which may have upset you, believe me, I wrote them with tears. I wrote for the benefit of the church generally. I was not condemning all of you. One bad apple can spoil the rest. I was rebuking just the one or two who were living unrepentant lives. The only thing that involved the remainder was that it turned out to be a test of your obedience. But as you have made clear that such behaviour is not appropriate for those who profess to belong to Christ so now it is right that you show love and understanding. So if you are prepared to forgive and accept the one who offended then I also will forgive and accept him. For we know how the devil works and we don’t want the love of Christ to be tarnished in anyway within the fellowship Half the reason why I have not been to visit you sooner is that when I arrived at Troas to preach the Gospel, I was expecting to see Titus there, But when I found he wasn’t there I was greatly concerned for him and so I went on to Macedonia where I believed he might have gone. But we thank God who sometimes makes such circumstances guide us as to where we go next to preach this wonderful gospel. It is certainly a two edged sword. On the one side, the good news is to be well received like a fragrant odour by those who believe. On the other side is the bad news of the wrath of God against unbelievers. It to those who reject the message. like the smell of death. But we are not on a campaign to gain popularity as some are, who preach only those things in the Gospel that please people, in order to make a living out of preaching. They corrupt the word of God. We preach the full and pur Gospel. For we know that God sees and judges whether we are preaching the truth in Christ or not.
2 C or ch 3 However, I trust you are well aware that there are those who preach a corrupted gospel. Usually they are Judaisers who mix the Old covenant in with the New. Hence the reason why some churches adopt a policy of preachers having a letter of recommendation with them as they travel about ministering. But I would hope that you would not require the same from us before you accept the truth and authority of our ministry, as ministers of the New Testament. You yourselves are testimony to our genuineness. You are surely as a letter of commendation, not only written on our hearts but written openly for all to see and read. The word preached has been written on your hearts by the Holy Ghost and you have been born again by the word of God, which we preached. But we are not just saying that of you egotistically, because we were the instruments used for your salvation, fore we know only God could have changed you and we of our selves only passed on the true message we received from God. For we are confident that God called us and equipped us to be ministers of the New Testament as surely as Moses was a minister of the Old. His message was written on stone but our message has been written on your hearts not by us but by the Holy Ghost. But when we compare the Old Covenant which was written to the Jews with the New Covenant which is written to both Jews and Gentiles like yourselves, then you can see that the glory and wonder of the New is far greater than the Old. Even though the Old was so glorious, in that Moses’ face shone so much when he brought the Law down from the mountain that he put a veil over his face. Incredibly, he had been in the presence of God, . For the Law certainly had amazing glory. It is the expression of the will and life of God himself. It is how God would have his people live on this earth. It was a formula and pathway to life and prosperity. Those who keep the Law in part or whole are not showing their own glory, they are merely reflecting the glory of God. Plus the fact that they are not doing their own will but obey rules written in stone, in an attempt to justify them before God. Added to that is the social glory that would be spread around as people obeyed the law . Nor let us forget the great times of happiness for families and tribes in their religion of feasts and holydays (Holidays) There are many aspects of the Law which are glorious, even from the human aspect, in making life on earth better socially and healthily. It is certainly glorious from Heaven’s point of view. But nevertheless by comparison to the New, you could say the Old had no glory at all. That agreement brought only condemnation because men had no power within to fulfil the law apart from the weak efforts of the flesh. But this New agreement ministered not by Moses on tables of stone, but by the Holy Spirit on your hearts- which is the centre of your being and houses your Beliefs, Emotions and Desires So great is the difference that the Old has now been done away with regardless of whatever glory it had. This is the reason we are so positive and apparently dogmatic about the truth that we preach. There is no veil over our faces nor over the gospel we preach. The children of Israel never did see the true glory of the Old agreement but in the gospel they can have the veil taken away and they will see the glory of the New , which embraces fully the glory of the Old. Had they kept the Law they would have experienced and seen the glory of the Old, for they themselves would have been glorified by it. But they had no power to keep it. But under the new we have the Holy Spirit who is the very life of God himself. This is what we mean when we say the law has been written now upon our hearts. The message of God’s love touches our hearts, and creates a desire to willingly want to do his will, as obedient children. So now any “laws” that we keep are the perfect laws of liberty. Because we love we don’t feel in bondage to do God’s will. The warm Sun of the grace of God which is continually showered upon us is able to melt the most stubborn or coldest heart.
In responding to that grace, so we reflect the glory of the Christ within us, because we see Him as in a mirror. We look in a mirror and see Jesus. It is in reflecting his glory by allowing him to live out of us (God’s life) that we are changed and are being changed, until we are perfectly formed to be like Christ who is the very glory of God. Ultimately, we shall be as He is.- True Sons of God. He is the bright and morning star and we also shall shine with Him in glory like stars in the heavens.
2 Cor 4 (read also Judges 7 16-24) We have not created this gospel or ministry ourselves, but God has graciously given it to us and that is why we press on ministering. Though there are some who corrupt the gospel and minister their own ideas, and seek to manipulate the hearers with verbal craft, we do not. Our Gospel is pure. We can say that with a pure conscience. And know that those without a biased conscience should discern that we preach the truth. Sometimes we wonder why everyone doesn’t see the light of the gospel as we preach it. There is nothing wrong with the gospel or with us who make it clear and plain. Those who don’t see the true light of the gospel are surely lost, for Satan himself blinds the minds of people so that they cannot see the pure light of the gospel. That pure light is not us, we are not promoting ourselves, we are promoting Jesus Christ. In Him we see God. He is the express image of God the Father. The one who at first said “Let there be light”, when all was dark, has sent light into our darkened heart and what we see in that light is amazing, for it is that Jesus Christ is the very Son of God, the full and clear picture of an invisible God. This is a revelation of an amazing truth which God reveals to the humble heart. Peter once made confession of who Jesus was and Jesus confirmed that it had been God himself that had revealed to Peter who Jesus really was. So the gospel we preach is all of God. The gospel we preach is Jesus and not us and it is not up to us who believe, but up to God who causes the light to go on in a person’s heart. Truly we see the “glory” of Jesus shining just as the disciples saw him when he was transfigured on the mount. We no longer see Him as just a man or a prophet as the man in John 9 saw him at first, but we see him as the Son of God the invisible all powerful, all wise God who created all things and by whom all things are maintained. As for us, there would not appear to be any glory worth shouting about or promoting, or even believing in. We are constantly set about with negative and debasing experiences. You would hardly take us as an advert for abundant life, if you look only with the natural eye, judging by what we go though to preach the gospel We are like the clay pots of Gideon’s army which had the lights inside. When the pots were broken the light shone out. And we are it seems always being broken for this reason. The treasure is in an earthly vessel of clay- we are just human But Jesus said the corn of wheat must die to bear fruit and so we ourselves die daily. We are always experiencing situations which we would not particularly choose for ourselves, but in dying to our own will, we know that Jesus’ life, which is Resurrection life springs forth and fruit is born You are the fruit of our dying. One day at the final resurrection of all the dead, we will be raised and you also will be raised and all to the glory of Jesus Christ for nothing glorious is accomplished by us. We are under pressure at all times but never crushed. Some times we have no idea what is going on but we never despair into hopelessness for God’s ways are not our ways. We are persecuted by humans, but are always aware of divine presence. God never leaves us. At times we are down but never counted out.
For we don’t judge from the visible about what is really happening. We look to the invisible and see that through your salvation much praise is given back to the God who gave us the gospel, empowers us to preach the gospel and who is in fact the gospel. It is nothing of us or ourselves, it is all of God and so we rejoice that in it all God is glorified As for our troubles we see them as but a light affliction compared with the glory that we know we will enter into at the coming of Jesus Christ and we know that though physically we might be wasting away, spiritually we are growing day by day. The outer man is perishing, so to speak but the inner man, which is Christ, grows in strength and glory day by day