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The weight of my heart

Reading through 2 Corinthians 5 and 6 yesterday, and Proverbs 24 today, I was struck by some things. First, check out the passages:

2 Corinthians 5:20 - 6:10 reads:

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain - for He says,



Behold, now is "THE ACCEPTABLE TIME," behold, now is "THE DAY OF SALVATION" - giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

And Proverbs 24:12 reads:

If you say, "see, we did not know this,"

Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts?

And does He not know it who keeps your soul?

And will He not render to man according to his work?

Several observations. Paul "begs" the Corinthians to "be reconciled to God." He makes this appeal "on behalf of Christ." Following that, Paul writes that famous verse stating that God made Christ to "be sin on our behalf." Paul then "urges" them "not to receive the grace of God in vain." After reminding them that God has already done everything to bring their salvation unto them, Paul lists some characteristics of solid Christian living. In Proverbs 24:12, we're told several things of God's character: He knows all, even the things we try to hide; it is He who keeps our souls; He will give to us what we deserve.

What does all this mean? Here's what my head was churning with. First, when Paul "begs" the Corinthians, he's pleading with them to make themselves right with God. He's telling them that they have no reason not to, for Christ has done all necessary. Second, when he "urges" them, he's urging them on to right living. Having been reconciled, the Corinthians must not simply rest on that status. Indeed, Paul points out that such a reconciliation is in vain if it does not lead toward a fundamental change in the way life is lived, and that's why he lists those characteristics. In a sense, this seems to be one place where Paul would be shown to agree with James' claim that faith is shown by works (James 2:18). That verse in Proverbs 24, on the other hand, goes hand in hand with what Paul is saying. I often think I can get away with doing things improperly, so long as I keep up appearances. Of course, I don't come out and put it quite that way, as that would sound horrendous. No, I'll justify my wrong actions in my heart as being just, for I've been "confirmed" as being a good person by those around me...even those I trust, those in whom I confide. But what does Proverbs tell me? What does Paul tell me? That God knows the true motives of my heart, and in my deception I'm receiving His grace in vain.


posted by Bolo | 1:45 PM
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