Thursday, October 4, 2012

Treasures in Jars of Clay {My Meditation}




1. TREASURES IN JARS OF CLAY (2Cor.4:1-18)



Christians are “Jars of Clay” who at times experience sadness, tears, troubles, perplexities, weakness and fears (cf. 1:4, 8-9, 7:5). Yet because of the heavenly “treasure” within them, they are not defeated. Christianity is not the removal of weakness, nor is it merely the manifestation of divine power. Rather, it is the manifestation of Divine power through human weakness (2Cor.12:9).

(1). In every affliction we may be more than conquerors through God’s power and love (Rom.8:37). Our weakness, troubles and suffering open us up to Christ’s abundant grace and allow his life to be revealed in our bodies (vv.8-11, cf. 2Cor.12:7-10).

(2). If you experience Christ’s presence and power in your life, absolutely no trouble, sickness or tragedy will cause your spiritual defeat. When outward circumstances become unbearable and your human resources are exhausted, God’s resources are given to expand your faith, hope and strength. Under no circumstances will God forsake his faithful children (Rom.8:35-39, Heb.13:5).

(3). To minister life to another person, we must share Christ’s sufferings and experience the working of death in our lives (v.12). Self-denial, trouble, disappointment and suffering for Christ’s sake will allow our lives to minster grace to others (cf. 11:23-29, Rom.8:36-37, Phil.1:29, 1Pet.4:14). Jesus taught this same great principle of brokenness in John 12:24-25.

(4). For Christians, Outwardly physical body is subject to decay and moving toward death because of mortality and the troubles of life (v.17). Although our bodies age and decay, we experience ongoing renewal through the constant impartation of Christ’s life and power (human spirit that has the spiritual life of Christ); His influence enables our minds, emotions and wills to be conformed to His likeness and eternal purpose.

(5). The hardships endured in the lives of those who remain faithful to Christ are light in comparison to abundance of glory we have through Christ. This glory is already present in part, but will be fully experienced in the future (cf. Rom.8:18). When we reach our heavenly inheritance, we will say that severest tribulations were nothing compared with the glory of the eternal state. Therefore, we must not lose hope or give up our faith as we face our problems, difficulties, hardships, troubles, sickness, sufferings, weakness, sadness, tears, perplexities, fears, etc.


{Extract from My Personal Devotion & Bible Study, Oct.4, 2012, 6:24Am}


2. WHERE THE SPIRIT IS, THERE IS FREEDOM (2Cor.3:17)
 
Paul calls the New Covenant “the ministry of the Spirit” (3:8). Through faith in Christ one receives the Holy Spirit, is born-again and is promised the baptism in the Spirit (Act.1:8, 2:4). All the redemptive benefits in Christ come by way of the Spirit. It is He who mediates Christ’s presence and all the benefits of the cross (v.9). Let’s see what kind of Freedom we are enjoying through the Holy Spirit:-

(1). The freedom that comes through Christ (Gal.5:1) is, first and foremost, liberation from the condemnation and slavery of sin (vv.7-9, Ro.6:6, 14, 8:2, Eph. 4:22-24, Col.3:9-10). And the whole dominion of Satan (Act.26:18, Col.1:13, 1Pet.5:8).

(2). True liberation begins with the believers’ union with Christ (Act. 4:12, Eph.1:7) and his or her receiving the Holy Spirit.

(3). Liberation from spiritual bondage is maintained through the Spirit’s continued indwelling and through obedience to his direction (Ro.8:1ff, Gal.5:18, Cf. Jn.15:1-11).

(4). Freedom provided by Christ is not freedom for believers to do what they want (1Cor.10:23-24), but to do what they should to glorify God (Ro.6:18-23).

(5). Freedom must never be used as a cover-up for evil or as a justification for conflict (Jas.4:1-2, 1Pet.2:16-23). E.g. Position & status in Church i.e. Reverend, Pastor, Elder, Deacon and leadership position, title, etc. should not be used as a cover-up or hiding place for sins.

(6). Christian liberation frees believers for Service to God and other people in the way of righteousness (1Thes.1:9, 1Cor.9:19, Ro.6:18ff). This is because, we are now Christ’s slaves (Ro.1:1, 1Cor.7:22, Phil.1:1), living to God by Grace (Ro.5:21, 6:10-13).
 
{Extract from My Personal Devotion & Bible Study, Oct.3, 2012, 6:35Am}



3. PUNISHMENT MUST BE DONE WITH A SPIRIT OF GENTLENESS {2 Cor.2:1-17}
 
From 2 Corinthians 2, we gain insight into New Testament pattern of Discipline toward a member of the Church who commits a Serious Offense (e.g. immorality, adultery, murder, etc. cf. 1Cor. 5). The Churches today have abandoned NT Church Discipline. They advocate tolerance of sin, call for unconditional forgiveness, offer cheap grace, apply favoritism, and refuse to hear what the Holy Spirit says to the Churches (cf. Rev. 2-3). As a result, sin is taken lightly and the fear of God is absent from among them (cf. Matt.18:15). Why Punishment or Discipline is needed in the Church or Christian Fellowship? And How Disciplinary action must be taken?

(1). In order to defend the integrity of Christ’s Church (1Cor.5:1-2). The Church must punish the offender with a punishment sufficient to produce Spiritual reformation, yet not so harsh as to deny Hope of Divine mercy and re-entry into the Church or Fellowship (v.7). No partiality, no favoritism, offender must be dealt with a careful with a view to correct the sin that committed. Note that forgiveness and love were not given unconditionally to the offender.

(2). After sufficient punishment, if the offender is repent and sorrowful, he or she must be forgiven and, the Church Leaders must comfort and take a good care in a Spirit of Love (vv.7-8). If the offender gone uncomforted and was overwhelmed by excessive sorrow, and unable to restore his/her relationship with God, the Church or the Fellowship, then it would mean that the Church has committed a great sin to God and to the offender.

(3). The Offender’s punishment and restoration must be done in a Spirit of Gentleness (Gal.6:1). Sorrow, earnestness, indignation, and readiness to see justice done by bringing the guilty to accountability (cf. 7:11, 1Cor.5:5, 13). One of our keys defenses against Satan’s attack is awareness of the enemy’s continual effort to gain an advantage over us and lead us away from devotion to Christ (cf. Eph.6:11).
 
{Extract from My Personal Devotion & Bible Study, Oct.10, 2012, 6:15Am}











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