Todays readings… 2 Kings 10, Ezekiel 1, 2 Corinthians 5,6&7
As we read further in Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians we note the words he uses to express the wonder of their privileged position before God. Previously they had gone to pagan temples to worship idols but now,
Paul tells them, you “are the temple of the living God” and directs their minds to what had been written long ago about this, saying, “as God said, I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; and I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty” [2 Cor. 6 v.16-18]
All these words are quoted from Leviticus 26 v.12 and Isaiah 52 v.11. This is a lesson for all who claim to follow Christ – not to neglect this part of God’s word and the lessons of his earlier dealings with human beings.
An even greater lesson follows for, after quoting these scriptures Paul next comments, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” [7 v.1]
Today, more than ever before, people abuse their bodies with defiling substances – at the same time their minds are corrupted by what they read and watch. But those whose aim in life is to bring “holiness to completion” must turn from all such things.
However our minds do not operate in a vacuum and if we fill them with godly thoughts, there is no room for the things that defile. Paul had reminded them [5 v.9] that “we must all appear at the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive what is due for what he has done”
Finally, consider Paul’s words, “For the love of Christ controls us.” [v.14] ”that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sakes died and was raised”[v.15] An essential part of that ‘living’ is to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement…” The outcome of which is to succeed in bringing ““holiness to completion.” This is the vital aim we must have – let us make progress towards it each day.
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