Yesterday we heard two stories: That of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue of gold and the exciting way God delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And the second story was Nebuchadnezzar himself sharing about his dream and how he was later humbled.
Yesterday’s reading in Isaiah talked of the destruction of the whole earth, but here again as typical in Isaiah, the sun was allowed to break through the clouds. We look forward to a city where God himself will outshine the sun.
Here is part of Paul’s discussion about the earthly tents/bodies we all have, and heavenly bodies we will one day have:
2Cor. 5:6 GNT So we are always full of courage. We know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord's home.
7 For our life is a matter of [believing//faith], not of [seeing//sight].
8 We are full of courage and would much prefer to leave our home in the body and be at home with the Lord.
9 More than anything else, however, we want to please him, whether in our home here or there.
Paul returns to his theme about the the apostolic ministry that God has given to him and his companions, and especially now their commission to share the message of reconciliation with God.
GNT Translation notes:
2Cor. 5:18 [PET And the source of all of those life-changes is God Himself— who by Christ’s mediation has made us at peace with Him again. Then He sent us out to tell about that offer of peace.//GNT All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also.]
19 [PET What we tell is that God— through the death of Christ, has opened the way for each person in this world to be at peace with Himself. For those of us who are joined in union with Christ, God no longer counts our sins and wrongdoings against us. That’s the news of restored peace that God entrusted to us!//Our message is that God was making all human beings his friends through Christ. God did not keep an account of their sins, and he has given us the message which tells how he makes them his friends.]
20 [PET It means that we’ve become messengers of Christ— our King. Through us God is inviting and calling each of you to listen to this message: In Christ Jesus’ name be restored to peace with God!//GNT Here we are, then, speaking for Christ, as though God himself were making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ's behalf: let God change you from enemies into his friends!]
[I decided to use our Plain English Translation for the three verses above. In verse 18, using the words ‘making others his friends’ sounds a bit like Paul and the apostles would be twisting people’s arms. But in verse 19 GNT makes the reconciliation that God offers sound like universal salvation to all human beings. (This means that everyone would be saved without the need for repentance and following Christ. This heresy is still around in the world, and that is not what Paul meant here.)]
2Cor. 6:9 [We are treated] as unknown, yet we are known by all; [people act] as though we were dead, but, as you see, we live on.
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