In today’s 3 chapters in 2 Corinthians Paul explains more about the wonder and challenges of the journey of a disciple. Solomon had a vision that “the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until …” (Proverbs 4:18)! Yes, until the “full day” comes, when faith is turned to sight. Is the path you are treading shining brightly, and are you “bringing holiness to completion”?
Growing spiritual darkness should make the brightness of our path more evident, but sadly most people see little of the Lord Jesus. Evidence is there for them to see, as it was in the days of Jesus but their minds refused to accept what they saw. They were unable to “turn”.
We are challenged to understand what Paul means. He says, “while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened – not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (5:4). The more we are “further clothed” in our minds, the pathway before us will become increasingly clear. “We are always of good courage”, says Paul, “and we would rather be away from the body and present with the Lord” (verse 8). Those who believe their “soul” is immortal misunderstand Paul’s meaning. Mortality will be “swallowed up” when Christ returns (1 Corinthians 15) and Paul had a clear expectation of what is “laid up for me” in 2 Timothy 4:7,8.
We will be physically “at home with the Lord” when he returns. Paul challenges us to be spiritually “at home” with him now so that when we “appear before the judgement seat of Christ … each one … receive(s) what is due for what he has done in the body …” (verse 10). This means what he has done in “the body” of Christ (Ephesians 1:22,23).
Chapter 6 in today’s readings ends by making the Corinthians aware of God’s promises of the life to come in his kingdom as recorded in the Old Testament (Paul quotes from Leviticus 26:12 and Isaiah 52:11). Chapter 7 starts, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement … bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God”. He tells them to “widen your hearts” (6:13) and our readings are the essential ‘food’ for our hearts; God’s scriptures are a foundation ingredient if our hearts are to become wide and so that we anticipate the “full day” with the greatest eagerness.