Thursday in the Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

2 Corinthians 6:1-13

Widen Your Hearts

In this short passage, Paul will write of the struggles which he and his co-laborers have experienced as apostles of Jesus Christ.  You will remember that so much of the trouble at Corinth was caused by wandering preachers who liked to discredit Paul.  So the Apostle will be forced to lay his credentials on the table again as he did in his first letter.  But he makes it clear that he doesn’t like having to do it (12:11); only this time, he will speak of the sufferings he has endured as an apostle. 

But let us be clear, Paul does not defend himself before the Corinthians to show that he is a better man than those who malign him; Paul defends himself to show this church how much he loves them.  And so he begins, “We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain,” and then, “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  Paul has wrestled with this church now for too long.  This is now his fourth letter to them, and he has visited them one time of which we know turned out to be a disaster.  He has had to correct them on some of the most basic teachings of the faith, even on matters of sexual morality.  All of this can be understood given the pagan culture out of which many of them came and in which they still lived.  But to doubt the one who served as midwife to bring them to faith in Christ, performed wonders through the Spirit, and was always gentle among them … well, one can understand why he must make this plea: Don’t tell me that you received the grace of God in vain!  Be reconciled!  Now is the day of salvation!  Come!

Paul’s list of what the apostles endured for the sake of the gospel, for the sake of the churches, is humbling to say the least.  The beauty of the list is that not only does he mention the hardships, such as beatings and imprisonments, but also the blessings which God gave them to endure such sufferings: purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, the power of God, weapons of righteousness; through honor and dishonor, slander and praise; treated as imposters yet true, as dying yet living, as sorrowful but ever rejoicing, as poor but rich, as destitute yet possessing everything, and all for the Kingdom of God and the churches.  And so he implores the Corinthians to open their hearts as wide to him as his is open to them.  I’ve heard much lately about people needing to open their hearts, but I don’t see people today suffering for “social justice” like Paul did then for the gospel.  Open your hearts to the gospel and His Kingdom, and not some cheap imitation of man’s darkened dreams.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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