2 Corinthians 4-5 Gaining Your Glory-Suit

2 Corinthians 4-5 Gaining Your Glory-Suit

Psalm 140:1-13 Just Protection
Ps 140:1 Of David “Deliver me, Yahweh, from the evil man. Preserve me from the violent man; 2 those who devise mischief in their hearts. They continually gather themselves together for war. 3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent. Viper’s poison is under their lips. Selah. 4 Yahweh, keep me from the hands of the wicked. Preserve me from the violent men who have determined to trip my feet. 5 The proud have hidden a snare for me, they have spread the cords of a net by the path. They have set traps for me. Selah. 6 I said to Yahweh, "You are my God." Listen to the cry of my petitions, Yahweh. 7 Yahweh, the Lord, the strength of my salvation, you have covered/protected my head in the day of battle.
8 Yahweh, don’t grant the desires of the wicked. Don’t let their evil plans succeed, or they will become proud. Selah. 9 As for the head of those who surround me, let the mischief of their own lips cover them. 10 Let burning coals fall on them. Let them be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, from where they never rise. 11 An evil speaker won’t be established in the earth. Evil will hunt the violent man to overthrow him. 12 I know that Yahweh will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the needy. 13 Surely the righteous will give thanks to your name. The upright will dwell in your presence."

Observations: 140:1-13 In this imprecatory psalm David seeks deliverance from the proud, evil enemies who attack him verbally and conspire against him physically. He expresses faith in God's protection of him, even though God has let him be in the situation. He calls down nasty judgment upon them, which they completely deserve. David knows that since God is just, He will maintain his cause and turn the tables on the bad guys. David expresses confidence that he will be delivered by noting that the righteous will give thanks to His name (manifestation of His character in answering their prayer), and that the upright (the righteous who pass the test of the storm -Ps 11) will dwell in His presence. By stating this, he is asserting his own righteousness and uprightness.

Application: Even when unjustly under attack, maintain your righteousness and uprightness, for that is the basis of trusting God to justly deliver you.

Prayer: God, may I never be swayed (by the proud and evil folks who seek to make me stumble) from my trust in You and pursuit of living out Your truth; I praise You for protecting me, even in the midst of the battles I face. Amen.

TMS Hebrews 10:24-25 Biblical Fellowship
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another
in order to stir up love and good works,
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as is the manner of some,
but exhorting one another,
and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”

Observations: 10:24-25 This passage in the hinge of Hebrews, indicating what we should do in light of all that God has done for us (see comments in Hebrews 10). The answer is simple to know, a little more difficult to do: progress in Faith, Hope, and Love. Each virtue is elaborated on a little bit in chapter ten, but then chapter 11 is about Faith, chapter 12, about Hope, and chapter 13 opens with “Let brotherly Love continue.” In our passage above, the author gives a synopsis of how believers should live in love toward each other, especially as it relates to gathering in fellowship. Remember that fellowship means to have in common, which starts with our being born again into the family of God.
Believers should gather to provoke or stimulate (the word was used on inciting a riot) each other to love and good deeds (blessable behavior). There is no such thing as a lone wolf in the Body of Christ. God expects us not only to gather, but to gather to give to others. That means we need to get from Him first. Assembling a bunch of carnal Christians to seek worth and value from each other is not what God had in mind. The opposite is for like-minded saints to gather and enrich each other, so they will do well at the judgment seat. "All the more as you see the day approaching." This life is the only chance we get, use it wisely.
See the sixth of the 7 PASSAGES for how believers should interact with each other. See the Catacomb Church Blog for how believers should assemble so they interact Biblically.
10:26-27 The importance of Biblical fellowship in light of the coming judgment is underscored by the warning which follows. The temptation for the original audience was to forsake Christianity to go back to Judaism, abandoning the sacrifice (Jesus) which was acceptable to God. All that remained in Judaism for them (see the “Warning Passages" in Hebrews) was judgment, not reward. The temptation for us is to go back to the way we were, the dead works that will be burned up in judgment when Christ returns. Biblical fellowship provides the protection for toddler Christians (so they don't wander off into self-destructive behavior), until they can develop the spiritual maturity to stay on the path and help others do the same.

Application: If you are a young believer, seek out fellow believers who are seeking the Lord according to the truth, and stick with them. If you're a more mature believer, start considering how your interaction with other believers spurs them on to self-sacrificial love and glory getting good deeds.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thanks for the fellowship of believers who seek to love You with all they've got, and love each other as themselves; may I always seek Your purposes for my life and for the lives of others. Amen.

2 Corinthians 4-5 Just like Romans 3 was crucial for understanding justification, and Romans 6 for sanctification, chapters 4-5 are probably the most significant for understanding glorification. Spend whatever time it takes to master them. Come back later to study this (see Week in Review) if you don't fully grasp the light, otherwise you'll continue in the dark. It might help to read both chapters four and five, (of 2 Corinthians, below), before you start reading the observations. While you're at it, throw in chapter 3 to refresh your memory. The section under Digging Deeper goes back to Genesis and develops the theme of restoration to glory that Paul talks about in these chapters. Don't miss it.

2 Corinthians 4 Focus on the Weight of Glory
4:1 "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, even as we obtained mercy, we don’t faint. 2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by the manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 Even if our Good News is hidden/veiled, it has been hidden/veiled among/en those who are perishing; 4 among whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them. 5 For we don’t preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake; 6 seeing it is God who said, "Light will shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair; 9 pursued, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesussake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death works in us, but life in you.
13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, "I believed, and therefore I spoke." We also believe, and therefore also we speak; 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; 18 while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Observations: 4:1-2 The ministry to which Paul refers is that described in the previous chapter, that of ministering the truth of the New Covenant, with its Holy Spirit, life changing power, which transforms believers into the image of Christ, with resultant glory (see last post). Paul manifests (only used elsewhere in 1 Corinthians 12:7 of the obvious manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their lives) the truth, by causing it to be written on people's hearts, with resultant life change (“living epistles” in 3:3 make sure you understand that), which causes Paul's ministry to be approved or commended by the recipients conscience (awareness of what is good or bad), as they are blessed by it (“Hey, this stuff works, try it!”). Paul does so in full consciousness that he serves in the sight of God (doing what is right in His sight – see 5:9-10).
4:3-7 The good news or gospel that Paul was preaching “is having been hidden” in/among those who are perishing. This is a periphrastic perfect (like Ephesians 2:8) using a present and a perfect verb to emphasize the present continuing results of something that happened in the past. See chapter 3 (last post) and Acts 28:27 for the callousness to truth that results in the “veiling.” Note that the perfect indicates an event in the past, not a state in which one was born. It's something that occurred as a specific event in one's history. This should be earth (or at least theology) shattering for some. Those who reject truth, wind up being insensitive to it, so that even if it is proclaimed and authenticated with miracles, they won't see it. Those are the ones who are perishing (headed to judgment and destruction), which in the context is loss of reward/glorification, not lack of justification. Note the passage is about glory.
The god of this world, Satan (who grasped at the glory of God and missed it) has blinded (aorist tense, giving a snapshot of usually past action) the minds (to which he has access) of the unbelieving (those who aren't believing Paul's message), lest the light of the gospel of the glory (it's about the glory, not forgiveness) of the Messiah, the image of God (the promised ruler of the world to come) should not dawn on them (so they won't get the glory).
This is the message Paul preaches about Jesus the Messiah, as Lord, and why he views himself as a servant of Jesus for the benefit of the Corinthians (who are already justified).
The God of creation began this world with “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), a localized manifestation of the glory/energy of God, that eventually took shape as our material world (temporarily, the end is coming). God commanded the light to shine out of darkness and also to shine in our hearts. This is a reference to the Holy Spirit (see verse 7) being given to believers (Ephesians 1:17-18), so that they might know the hope (of glory - Ephesians 1:18; 4:1) that accompanies their belief/calling. This shining gives the light (here Paul's being clever again with multiple shades of meanings being given to the same concept in the same passages), which in this instance is the Spirit giving the knowledge of the glory of God, because they've already received the first down-payment (2 Corinthians 1:22). Since they've received the first-installment they know that it exists and is possible, and for them. This is the glory God has promised to those faithful to the Messiah, which is experienced in the face/presence of Christ, the Messiah (cf 2 Corinthians 3:18). But they have this treasure (of a measure of the Spirit shining in them like a firefly flying around in a jar) in an earthen vessel, so that God's power/glory might be seen rather than theirs. As they depend on Him, his power will shine through them as He strengthens and protects, but there is a different shining that Paul has in mind, as elaborated in the next section.
4:8-12  As an common earthen vessel, Paul, and those serving with him, experience difficulties because of their service of Christ in Satan's world, filled with his agents. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31 that “I die daily.” In verse 10 Paul uses dying (nekrosis) rather than death (thanatos) to make the point that he is constantly dying to self (same verb in Colossians 3:5 -mortify) which is sourced in his relationship with Christ, not proclaiming the death (thanatos) of Christ. He dies daily to do the Father's will, as Christ did, so the the life of Christ might be revealed in his body. This is the use of a subjunctive aorist to give a snapshot of a future event. Verse 11 just elaborates what he described in verse 10. Those who live for Jesus will die daily (Luke 9:23-26 “take cross and follow me to glory”), so the life/dominion/glory of Christ will be manifest, revealed, in the mortal flesh (as it is swallowed up by life 5:4). Verse 12 means that as Paul ministers for the benefit of the Corinthian believers, death is at work in him, so that life might be at work in them.
4:13-19 Because Paul believes what God has revealed, he speaks the truth (risking death), knowing that if he dies, God will raise him up (and give him glory) just like He did with Christ. That glorification will occur with those who respond to the truth. Paul ministers by the grace of God so that the Corinthians will receive it and multiply it so there will be much thanksgiving, which reveals God at work, and thus His glory. Therefore, Paul doesn't lose heart. Though outwardly he experiences the wear and tear of opposition, his inner self (man is added) is being renewed (only used in Colossians 3:10) daily. At first glance this looks like something that happens in the here and now, but the next verse makes it clear that it is future glory. Verse 17 makes it obvious that Paul is talking about his glory in the kingdom (as does the next chapter). He views the daily dying as a lightweight annoyance, which produces (works out) a far greater and more abundant glory, that he describes as eternal (vs temporal affliction), and weighty (vs lightweight affliction). Suffering to do the will of God is meritorious and earns a reward (a future bestowal of grace -1 Peter 1). Those who've never studied grace should, to see how the Bible uses it in past/justification, present/sanctification, and future/glorification aspects. Fortunately there is a Survey of Grace on Truthbase.net, which does that for you, but study it yourself and develop your own convictions.
So Paul focuses not on what is seen, the temporal afflictions, but on what is not seen, the eternal glory with which he will be clothed, if he endures (see next chapter) when Christ returns.

Application: Outward suffering for the right reasons produces a weight of glory that makes it all worth while, so don't look at the pain, look at the gain.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thanks for Your model of suffering righteously for doing the will of the Father; may I deny myself to follow You, and share in Your glory as You've promised. Amen.

2 Corinthians 5 Getting Your Glory-Suit
5:1 "For we know that if the earthly house of our tent is dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens. 2 For most certainly in this we groan, longing to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven; 3 if so be that being clothed we will not be found naked. 4 For indeed we who are in this tent do groan, being burdened; not that we desire to be unclothed, but that we desire to be clothed, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who made us for this very thing/purpose is God, who also gave to us the down payment of the Spirit.
6 Therefore, we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are courageous, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.
9 Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
10 For we must all be revealed/appear before the judgment seat of Christ;
that each one may receive the things in the body, according to what he has done,
whether good or bad.
11 Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are revealed to God; and I hope that we are revealed also in your consciences. 12 For we are not commending ourselves to you again, but speak as giving you occasion of boasting on our behalf, that you may have something to answer those who boast in appearance, and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God. Or if we are of sober mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ constrains us; because we judge thus, that one died for all, therefore all died. 15 He died for all, that those who live should no longer live to themselves, but to Him who for their sakes died and rose again.
16 Therefore we know no one after the flesh from now on. Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know Him so no more. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new. 18 But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beg on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf; so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

Observations: 5:1-8 Paul knows that our earthly body is just a temporary tent compared to the enduring building God has for us in heaven, which lasts forever. Therefore, while in this decaying mortal human form, we groan (as in express grief), longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling so that we might not be found naked.
Romans 8:23 Not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for adoption, the redemption of our body.
I still remember a conversation I had a quarter century ago, with an acquaintance, for fifteen minutes one night, under a street lamp across from Carnegie Hall. He said, grace, light, power, and glory, are synonyms; then he referenced something about nakedness in Genesis, and our passage in 5:2, and challenged me to check it out. As I walked home, a light flickered, and as I dug into the Scriptures, it became a floodlight that has shone clearly though all the difficult passages of the Bible (thanks Ron!). God's grace is the coin of the realm of heaven; it's what enables business to be transacted in the spiritual realm, and accomplishes God's purposes on earth as well. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we see that it powers saints on earth as well. God's grace or power is a manifestation of His character. The Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29) is also the Spirit of glory (1 Peter 4:14). I don't want to deprive you of the joy of discovery, but will highlight the case for the terms being synonymous as we progress. See the discussion under Digging Deeper for Nakedness in Genesis, where it's seen how salvation reverses the effects of the Fall, regaining the right to live forever -justification, the holiness and relationship with God that Adam lost -sanctification, and finally restores us to glory -glorification. This is the sense in which Paul doesn't want to be found naked. He wants to be clothed with glory, a glory-suit, so that what is mortal (his physical body) may be swallowed up by life (glory). But wait, there's more. This is the purpose for which God has created us! If you understand Ephesians 3:10, you know this. If not, see comments there, or under Digging Deeper. God has made us for future glory (not just present forgiveness/justification), and given us the first installment of that future glory, but putting the Spirit in our earthen vessel (this is parallel to the parable of the talents the servants received in the gospel, if you get this, you're seeing clearly). Knowing that God's plan is to restore believers to pre-Fall glory, merited though faithful suffering (see Job), Paul has confidence to face the trials, realizing that while in the physical body we are away from our real home which is in heaven with the glorified Lord.
5:9-10 Therefore (conclusion which follows from the above) Paul wants to please God, so he'll receive glory from Him. Paul gives us his ambition and motivation: his aim is to be well-pleasing to his Lord; his motivation is knowing that he'll be judged and receive good or bad in his body, according to what he has done (as in hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant” - you have to have done something, done it well, been good, been faithful, and been a servant, to hear this). See the detailed explanation and analysis of verses 9-10 under 7 PASSAGES (Our Relationship with the Lord Jesus) in the sidebar. Memorize, study, and meditate on these verses, they make all the difference in this life and the next. Your choice.
5:11-15 Knowing the fear of the Lord (being careful to do what is right in His sight because He is the just Judge of both believers and unbelievers), Paul persuades men regarding the truth regardless of the opposition. God knows what he does and why, and the conscience of the Corinthians should as well. Paul isn't boasting, but giving them ammunition to defend him against the agents of the dark side. If he appears a fool, it's for Christ's sake (remember Festus in Acts 26:24-25). If on the other hand, Paul appears sane, it is for the purpose of ministering to them. The love of Christ is either Christ's love for people or Paul's love for Christ, both are possible and both senses are used in other Scriptures, but the former (a subjective genitive) is preferable in light of the context. The following verses speak of God loving people as shown by His death for them (Romans 5:8), but the preceding argument is that of fearing the Lord and appearing before His judgment seat. He wants to do what is pleasing to Christ, which is having on his heart what is on Christ's heart, which is the reconciliation of people to Himself (so He's able to share His glory with them in His kingdom is the fuller story). Since Christ died for all, all were dead (lacked dominion, see comments on eternal life under Digging Deeper), and thus needed to be brought back to life, so that they would not live for themselves, but for Him who died for their forgiveness, and was raised for their glorification (see comments on Romans 4:25).
5:16-21 As a result of his commitment to Christ' purposes, Paul no longer views people from a worldly perspective. Anyone in Christ is a new creation, the old person is gone and the new is here to stay. See comments on 5:17 in the TMS section of the post on Romans 6. God has reconciled or brought back into relationship (Matthew 5:24) those who were alienated from Him, and given them the job of ambassadors to bring others into relationship with Him. Verse 20 is either: 1) the content of what Paul announces; or 2) an appeal to the Corinthians, who were already believers; or 3) an appeal to those were some who were antagonistic to Paul, and not believers. The best choice is number 2; the concept of reconciliation goes beyond forgiveness to a holy and righteous relationship, to which Paul was exhorting them. This fits the opening plea and concluding appeal of the next chapter, to not receive the grace of God in vain, and be holy and blessed by God. Thus verse 21 is saying that Jesus died for our sins, so that in Him, or better, in union with Him, we might (hina+subjunctive = intended, not guaranteed purpose, otherwise it would have been “result”). It appears that Paul uses reconciliation in two senses. To the world (verse 19) it involves not counting their trespasses against them; but to those who believe (who have been reconciled in that sense) God wants a relationship that can only be achieved by holy righteousness (verse 20). The next chapter will make this point (6:1; 14-18), so don't reject it until you read and understand it in the context.

Application: Make it your ambition to do well at the judgment seat of Christ by doing what is pleasing in His sight, which will involve righteously reconciling others to Him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thanks for dying for me so that I might be reconciled to You, and share in Your future glory; may I live so as to hear You say: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Amen.

Digging Deeper: 

Matters of Life and Death

Adam and Eve were originally clothed with glory in the Garden. God said that in the “day” they ate the fruit they would die. They ate, but then are running around playing hide 'n seek with God. They don't look very dead. Then they get kicked out of the Garden, and live for hundreds of years. How did they die? The clue is in recognizing that in the day they ate, the first thing that happened is that they noticed they were naked. It's not like that was the first time they looked down. In Genesis 2:25 the text says they were naked and not ashamed. But now they were, and sought to cover themselves. Previously they had been covered. Their nakedness is the major subject of the interaction with God after they sinned, and He takes steps to update their wardrobe with fur, instead of their vegan approach. Previously they had been covered with glory, and their glory departed.

Adam and Eve had a Suzerain-Vassal relationship with God. They needed to be loyal to Him, and He would protect and bless them. By rebelling against His rule they violated the covenant, and were deposed from rulership. An Ancient Near Eastern text records a Suzerain (greater power, like an emperor) saying that his Vassal (a lesser power like a king or governor) was unfaithful, so he “slew” him or “put him to death” and led him captive in chains back to the Suzerain's capital city where the Vassal served out the rest of his days in the dungeon. What? How can he be put to death and then be grinding grain in the dungeon? To put to death was to deprive someone of dominion or rulership. To live is to exercise dominion or rulership. God makes the same promise to the nation in Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy 30:15 "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil... 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;"
Physical death can be viewed as a lack of dominion or volition. A corpse can't do much.

What Adam and Eve lost in the Fall is reversed in Christ, in chiastic order:
Lost glory (naked-loss of dominion)
Lost holiness and an un-hindred relationship with God (ashamed; hide 'n seek)
Lost the right to live forever (sin-no tree of life)
Gain right to live for ever (forgiveness-escape lake of fire) = justification
Gain relationship with God and progressive holiness = sanctification
Gain glory-suit (clothed with life, restoration to glory and dominion and blessing in the future kingdom of the Messiah) = glorification.
God's overall purpose in our world is to glorify Himself. He does this by displaying His character, power and glory. When He blesses faithful believers with glory, He reveals that He is the One with all the glory. Hence those who seek after glory, glorify Him. We'll see more of this theme in the upcoming epistles. But who is He trying to impress?

One of God's purposes in giving us glory is to demonstrate to Satan and his hench-angels that they should have obeyed (Ephesians 3:10). The oldest book of the Bible, Job, has this theme as well. God creates and blesses (when they obey Him) an inferior being, man, to show that obedience is a just requirement, which Satan and company should have followed. If man can obey, the fallen angels should have. This explains Satan's attack on Job, and his blinding people to the light of the glory (he doesn't blind them to forgiveness, but the glory).

I'll elaborate more on this section in the future, so if you see another link or reference to it, check it out; it will be “new and improved” just like we should be.

God in a nutshell: God wants to reconcile people to Himself so He can bless them, and reverse the effects of the Fall in our salvation.

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus is not only the suffering Savior, but the coming Lord, Judge, and King, before whose judgment seat we believers will be judged for what we've done in our bodies.

Us in a nutshell: We lost our glory as humans in Adam, but we can gain it back in Christ, if we live as God instructs. Why wouldn't we?

Where to Go for More:

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