Chapter 3: 18
3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass
the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Paul notes that those who know the Lord can stand boldly before the
glass or mirror of God's word and can see how they are gradually changing,
with the help of the Holy Spirit into the kind of people that would be
acceptable to God.
It underscores the importance of seeing ourselves in mirror that gives
us a true picture of ourselves and then adjusting, with the help of the
Holy Spirit, little by little until we become what God wants us to be
5:1 "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle
were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands,
eternal in the heavens."
As he perceived his life's work drawing to an end, Paul wrote a second
Epistle to the Corinthians, called Second Corinthians. In it he continued
to characterize himself as a builder of the kingdom of God, as he had in
the first. However, here he noted that when his personal tabernacle, or
body, is dissolved that he expected another building, made by God himself
that would be eternal in the heavens. He perceived the reward for his life
of kingdom building to be a home, eternal in the heavens.
Chapter 6: 16
6:16 "And what agreement hath the temple of
God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said
I will dwell in them, I will be their God and they shall be my people."
This text first considers our bodies as the temples of God.
Paul, writing to the Corinthians encouraged them to be on guard against
influences of the world that would cause them to sin. This is the second
instance in which the question of maintaining the purity of body and soul
was directly addressed.
In 1 Cor. 6:19 he raised the question: "What know ye not that your body
is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God,
and ye are not your own." Here, Paul made it clear that the real temple
of God to the modern Christian is his body. God lives whereever he lives.
In Old Testament times God only lived in a special tent, called a Tabernacle.
Later Solomon built a great house of worship for the Lord and God's presence
was only felt in that building. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and
rebuilt by Zerrubabel, and later rebuilt again by Herod. Each time it reopened
it was an important event for the Jewish people because, to them, being
in the presence of God meant going physically to the temple.
The Tabernacle of the wilderness gave way to the Temple in Jerusalem.
Acts 7:48 points out that "the most high dwelleth not in temples made by
hand." Today, the Temple in Jerusalem has given way to each person's body,
which is now the "temple of the Holy Ghost." When a soul is saved God's
spirit begins to dwell in his body.
Chapter 11: 2,3,4
11:2-4: "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for
I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste
virgin to Christ." "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled
Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity
that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom
we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not
received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well
bear with him." --
Paul told the Church at Corinth that he wanted it to remain faithful
to Christ and not to simply run after every new doctrine that came along.
He wanted a full commitment from Corinth, setting the stage for the perfect
union between Christ and his spotless congregation that remained faithful
until he returned.
12:8-9: For this thing I besought the Lord
thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is
sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most
gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power
of Christ may rest upon me.
This text finds Paul explaining his apostleship
and the nature of his experience with Christ.
In both chapters 11 and 12 of 2 Corinthians,
Paul explains the nature of his Apostolic calling, including the unique
and sometimes conflicting ways in which he shared the experience. In the
first six verses of chapter 12 he reveals his experience 14 years earlier
in which he was taken to the "third heaven" in which he was in the very
presence of God himself. While Paul says in verse two "I knew man"
he is actually speaking of himself. He said he had been taken into paradise,
which he called the "third heaven" and saw and heard things that
too wonderful for mortal man to experience. The awe inspiring experience
was so wonderful that he could have easily become lifted in pride because
it was certainly an experience that no many people shared.
Paul knew he was apparently special
in the eyesight of God. He was special because of the great work God had
for him to do. Despite being special and important, God gave him an infirmity
that had been with him for 14 years. There has been considerable debate
as to the nature of the thorn in the flesh. Some believe that Paul
had an eye disease that was an aftermath of his Damascus Road experience.
The disease gave him an unsightly appearance. Others summize that he fell
victim to seizures and was plagued by them. Others who focus on the thorn
being characterized as a "Messenger of Satan" in verse seven. They contend
that the thorn was not a physical ailment at all but was the fact that
everywhere Paul went Satan's messengers caused disruption and trouble for
him. These "messengers" were constantly on his trail.
The exact nature of
the "thorn" is not detailed. What is known is that whether it was physical
of spiritual, Paul was pleading for its removal. Whether it was physical
or spiritual, it caused him considerable problem and he prayed not once
but three times and yet it was not removed. The fact that Paul did
not get the exact answer to his prayer as wished gives insight to the nature
of prayer and answers from God. Hezekiah prayed to God had 15 years added
to his life. David, a man after God's own heart, prayed to God that
his son would not die, but he did not receive what he ask. Paul prayed
to God three times that the thorn which troubled him would be removed but
instead, it remained. Paul probably learned from this experience that there
are three ways in which prayers are answered: "Yes","No" and "Wait a while!"
The answers to all prayers is not always what we want, but are certainly
what we need.
In retrospect Paul understood why his
prayer request was not answered directly: "lest I should be exalted above
measure." God left him with his "thorn in the flesh" to humble him. Paul
had been in the presence of God. He had seen the beauties and wonders
of paradise that no man should have seen. Such an experience could easily
lift a person up in pride. After praying three times to have the "thorn"
lifted, Paul decided that God had a greater reason for leaving it. That
reason was to keep him humble."
In place of removing the thorn God gave
him "grace" or a special favor from God. Grace helped Paul despite his
infirmities. If they were physical, Grace helped him perform his tasks
despite physical handicaps. If they were the presence of troubling experiences
prompted by Satan's messengers, "Grace" helped him endure them. God's answer
to Paul's prayer was "My grace is sufficient for thee!" With that explanation
Paul concluded that he was stronger with the thorn that he would
have been without it, because of extra "grace" that God gives him
This page last updated 2/22/98
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