So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please Him. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too.2 Corinthians 5:9-11
The issue is not actually what we want when it all comes down to it. It is not a matter of whether WE want to go or WE want to stay. To live or die is not for us to decide. Paul’s true heart returns to the Gospel. I doubt that he ever left it in reality. The preaching of the gospel is an ongoing theme of this passage across the chapter boundaries. Paul by his very nature will never let that go.
Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.2 Corinthians 2:15-17
Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.
He has enabled us to be ministers of His new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.2 Corinthians 3:3, 6
If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.2 Corinthians 4:3-5
There is also another sense to the treasure in jars of clay. You had to know we haven’t finished that yet. God hides this treasure of the Gospel in lives of human frailty. So others may know it is from Him and not something man has thought up. We are a fragrance of the gospel, living letters to be read by others, jars filled with treasure, those with a precious life message to tell. Are you telling it?
Whether we live or die we wish to please Him. What would please Him the most but to bring many sons and daughters to a saving knowledge of His grace seen in Christ. Saving the world is always uppermost on the heart of God. The same should be true of us if we have the heart of the Father. We will stand before Him and give an account of what we have done with the treasure buried within our clay jar. When we understand that, when the sense of our responsibility to God for this message He has put within us is clear, WE WILL WORK HARD TO PERSUADE OTHERS.
“God knows we are sincere and we hope you Corinthians know it too.” What is Paul meaning here? What is this a reference to? How does it link to what has go before and to what is coming. You figure it out and we will look at it tomorrow.
Without the Way, there’s no going; without the Truth, there’s no knowing; without the Life, no living.Thomas à Kempis
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.Richard Bach