Today’s readings.. (2 Kings 10), (Ezekiel 1), (2 Corinthians 5), (2 Corinthians 6), (2 Corinthians 7)

Today we read 3 short but remarkable chapters in 2nd Corinthians. Paul has learnt through the coming of Titus the blessing that spiritual life and attitudes are improving in Corinth. He writes, “God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he has comforted you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoice still more.  For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it … I rejoice … because you were grieved into repenting.” [7 v.6-8]
The path to true joy is sometimes difficult, but that is a fact of life that sadly some do not want to learn, but it is the experience in greater or lesser degree of every believer who sets out to walk in the footsteps of Christ.  It is said that we learn from our mistakes – but that is only true when we see clearly where we have strayed from the narrow way.   Sometimes God brings about drastic correction as we read today in 2 Kings 10 where Jehu, on becoming king completed the destruction of all of Ahab’s large offspring and all those who worshipped Baal – but even this failed to bring the kingdom of Israel to serve God correctly. Cutting out what is bad is only the halfway stage. Repentance is a tragedy when it does not lead to a new start.
Note the words at the start of 1 Cor. 7 – “since we have these promises…”.  What promises? We must grasp the overwhelming extent of these promises spelt out in the last 3 verses of Ch. 6; “…we are the temple of the living God, as God has said. ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them … then 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.” [v.16-18].  These verses are quoted from Leviticus 26 v.12 and Isaiah 52 v.11 – and demonstrate that all 66 books of the Bible are one unit.
Immediately after these verses comes the statement, “Since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” [7 v.1]  What a totally wonderful perception – leading to that challenge to ”bring holiness to completion.”   Let us live in awe of what God must be and realise the truth of 5 v.17 that “if anyone is in Christ, he (or she) is a new creation.”
The completion of that “new creation” is our lifetimes’ work; may we all realize this and complete the race, for we are all in the race of life.  Let us never see that ‘work’ as beyond us.  Paul knew God “is able to do far more abundantly more than we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” [3 v.20]

* Click verse text to see cross references.
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