2 Corinthians 6

Living Proof.

2 Corinthians 6

In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. – 2 Corinthians 6:4 NLT

Salvation is to be a holistic experience. It should impact every area of an individual’s life. And while primarily spiritual in nature, it manifests itself in the physical realm by transforming our behavior and equipping us to live radically different lives regardless of the circumstances we may encounter. It is in the physical world that our spiritual transformation becomes visible and practical. Paul could confidently claim that his salvation and his commission as a minister of God influenced every area of his life. It was because of his relationship with Jesus Christ that he could patiently endure troubles, hardships and calamities of every kind. He had endured beatings, angry mobs, imprisonment, exhaustion from hard work, sleepless nights, and gone without food for long periods of time; and yet, he continued to live a life marked by purity, understanding, patience, kindness, and love. In other words, his life revealed the presence and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, regardless of what was happening to him or around him. It is how we handle our circumstances that gives evidence of our salvation. Our behavior, actions, and attitudes are the best proof of our inner transformation, Paul was able to say with a straight face, “We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us” (2 Corinthians 6:8 NLT). Paul’s faithfulness to God was not contingent on everything going his way or life turning out the way he expected it to. Paul had endured a great deal of pain and suffering since he had come to know Christ. His path had been anything but easy. His faithfulness to God’s call had not resulted in fame and fortune, but had brought him rejection, ridicule, heartache, physical pain, and poverty. And yet, he had joy, spiritual riches, and a sense of contentment with his lot in life.

God is in the life-changing business. He didn’t just send His Son to save us, but to redeem and renew us. God is not changing the world in which we live, but He is transforming lives of His children who live in the world. He is making us His ambassadors and representatives. He is making us salt and light. He is making us living proof of His Spirit’s presence and the resurrection power of the cross. There is a day coming when God will restore and renew His entire creation. But for right now, it is only the lives of men and women that He is reconciling. We are the beneficiaries of His love, grace, and mercy. We alone can know what it means to be made right with God and restored to a right relationship with Him. He is changing us so that we might be His change agents in this world. Paul was able to say, “We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry” (2 Corinthians 6:3 NLT). He was confident in his assertion that his life was not a disconnect from or a discredit to his claim to have been changed by Christ. His actions under fire gave proof of his salvation. His ability to endure trials, troubles and hardships was evidence of the Spirit’s presence in his life.

There was a certain separation between the way Paul lived and the way the world around him lived. He lived his life differently and distinctively from the rest of the world. He had been set apart by God and lived accordingly. And yet, the Corinthians tended to want to have their cake and eat it too. They wanted salvation, but they preferred to keep their ties to the world and the pleasures this world offers. So Paul called them out. He challenged them to recognize their distinctiveness as Christ-followers and to live accordingly. He called them to live lives that gave evidence of their distinctiveness. Yes, it would be difficult. It would be risky. It would probably result in pain, rejection, and a certain degree of suffering. But God would be there in the midst of it all. Their lives would become proof of God’s transforming and sustaining power. They would become lights in the midst of the darkness. For Paul, compromise was never an option. Complacency was never a consideration. He was sold out and totally committed to the cause of Christ and it could be seen in every area of his life. His salvation had been total and complete. He was a new man – inside and out. And he lived like it. So should we.

Father, I want my inner transformation to show up in my outer man. I want my life to be living proof of Your presence in my life. You have not changed the world or my circumstances, but You are changing me and my capacity to live differently in the midst of it all. Continue to change me from the inside out. Let my new heart result in a new man. May others see Christ in me regardless of what is happening to me or around me. Amen.

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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