December 7

2 Corinthians 5:1 — 9:15

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, should be dissolved, we are to have a building from God, a house not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens. 2 For in this dwelling house we do indeed groan, earnestly desiring to put on the one for us from heaven, 3 so that, having really put it on, we shall not be found naked. 4 In fact, we who are in this tent groan, being weighed down; because we want, not to put it off, but to put on the other, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now he that produced us for this very thing is God, who gave us the token of what is to come, that is, the spirit.

6 We are therefore always of good courage and know that, while we have our home in the body, we are absent from the Lord, 7 for we are walking by faith, not by sight. 8 But we are of good courage and are well pleased rather to become absent from the body and to make our home with the Lord. 9 Therefore we are also making it our aim that, whether having our home with him or being absent from him, we may be acceptable to him. 10 For we must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of the Christ, that each one may get his award for the things done through the body, according to the things he has practiced, whether it is good or vile.

11 Knowing, therefore, the fear of the Lord, we keep persuading men, but we have been made manifest to God. However, I hope that we have been made manifest also to YOUR consciences. 12 We are not again recommending ourselves to YOU, but giving YOU an inducement for boasting in respect to us, that YOU may have [an answer] for those who boast over the outward appearance but not over the heart. 13 For if we were out of our mind, it was for God; if we are sound in mind, it is for YOU. 14 For the love the Christ has compels us, because this is what we have judged, that one man died for all; so, then, all had died; 15 and he died for all that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised up.

16 Consequently from now on we know no man according to the flesh. Even if we have known Christ according to the flesh, certainly we now know him so no more. 17 Consequently if anyone is in union with Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away, look! new things have come into existence. 18 But all things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of the reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was by means of Christ reconciling a world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and he committed the word of the reconciliation to us.

20 We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us. As substitutes for Christ we beg: “Become reconciled to God.” 21 The one who did not know sin he made to be sin for us, that we might become God’s righteousness by means of him.

Working together with him, we also entreat YOU not to accept the undeserved kindness of God and miss its purpose. 2 For he says: “In an acceptable time I heard you, and in a day of salvation I helped you.” Look! Now is the especially acceptable time. Look! Now is the day of salvation.

3 In no way are we giving any cause for stumbling, that our ministry might not be found fault with; 4 but in every way we recommend ourselves as God’s ministers, by the endurance of much, by tribulations, by cases of need, by difficulties, 5 by beatings, by prisons, by disorders, by labors, by sleepless nights, by times without food, 6 by purity, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by holy spirit, by love free from hypocrisy, 7 by truthful speech, by God’s power; through the weapons of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 through glory and dishonor, through bad report and good report; as deceivers and yet truthful, 9 as being unknown and yet being recognized, as dying and yet, look! we live, as disciplined and yet not delivered to death, 10 as sorrowing but ever rejoicing, as poor but making many rich, as having nothing and yet possessing all things.

11 Our mouth has been opened to YOU, Corinthians, our heart has widened out. 12 YOU are not cramped for room within us, but YOU are cramped for room in YOUR own tender affections. 13 So, as a recompense in return—I speak as to children—YOU, too, widen out.

14 Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? 15 Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: “I shall reside among them and walk among [them], and I shall be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 “‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take YOU in.’” 18 “‘And I shall be a father to YOU, and YOU will be sons and daughters to me,’ says Jehovah the Almighty.”

Therefore, since we have these promises, beloved ones, let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in God’s fear.

2 ALLOW room for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn YOU. For I have said before that YOU are in our hearts to die and to live with us. 4 I have great freeness of speech toward YOU. I have great boasting in regard to YOU. I am filled with comfort, I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.

5 In fact, when we arrived in Macedonia, our flesh got no relief, but we continued to be afflicted in every manner—there were fights without, fears within. 6 Nevertheless God, who comforts those laid low, comforted us by the presence of Titus; 7 yet not alone by his presence, but also by the comfort with which he had been comforted over YOU, as he brought us word again of YOUR longing, YOUR mourning, YOUR zeal for me; so that I rejoiced yet more.

8 Hence even if I saddened YOU by my letter, I do not regret it. Even if I did at first regret it, (I see that that letter saddened YOU, though but for a little while,) 9 now I rejoice, not because YOU were just saddened, but because YOU were saddened into repenting; for YOU were saddened in a godly way, that YOU might suffer no damage in anything due to us. 10 For sadness in a godly way makes for repentance to salvation that is not to be regretted; but the sadness of the world produces death. 11 For, look! this very thing, YOUR being saddened in a godly way, what a great earnestness it produced in YOU, yes, clearing of yourselves, yes, indignation, yes, fear, yes, longing, yes, zeal, yes, righting of the wrong! In every respect YOU demonstrated yourselves to be chaste in this matter. 12 Certainly, although I wrote YOU, I did it, neither for the one who did the wrong, nor for the one who was wronged, but that YOUR earnestness for us might be made manifest among YOU in the sight of God. 13 That is why we have been comforted.

However, in addition to our comfort we rejoiced still more abundantly due to the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of YOU. 14 For if I have made any boast to him about YOU, I have not been put to shame; but as we have spoken all things to YOU in truth, so also our boasting before Titus has proved to be true. 15 Also, his tender affections are more abundant toward YOU, while he calls to mind the obedience of all of YOU, how YOU received him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice that in every way I may have good courage by reason of YOU.

Now we let YOU know, brothers, about the undeserved kindness of God that has been bestowed upon the congregations of Macedonia, 2 that during a great test under affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty made the riches of their generosity abound. 3 For according to their actual ability, yes, I testify, beyond their actual ability this was, 4 while they of their own accord kept begging us with much entreaty for the [privilege of] kindly giving and for a share in the ministry destined for the holy ones. 5 And not merely as we had hoped, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us through God’s will. 6 This led us to encourage Titus that, just as he had been the one to initiate it among YOU, so too he should complete this same kind giving on YOUR part. 7 Nevertheless, just as YOU are abounding in everything, in faith and word and knowledge and all earnestness and in this love of ours to YOU, may YOU also abound in this kind giving.

8 It is not in the way of commanding YOU, but in view of the earnestness of others and to make a test of the genuineness of YOUR love, that I am speaking. 9 For YOU know the undeserved kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich he became poor for YOUR sakes, that YOU might become rich through his poverty.

10 And in this I render an opinion: for this matter is of benefit to YOU, seeing that already a year ago YOU initiated not only the doing but also the wanting [to do]; 11 now, then, finish up also the doing of it, in order that, just as there was a readiness to want to do, so also there should be a finishing up of it out of what YOU have. 12 For if the readiness is there first, it is especially acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what a person does not have. 13 For I do not mean for it to be easy for others, but hard on YOU; 14 but that by means of an equalizing YOUR surplus just now might offset their deficiency, in order that their surplus might also come to offset YOUR deficiency, that an equalizing might take place. 15 Just as it is written: “The person with much did not have too much, and the person with little did not have too little.”

16 Now thanks be to God for putting the same earnestness for YOU in the heart of Titus, 17 because he has indeed responded to the encouragement, but, being very earnest, he is going forth of his own accord to YOU. 18 But we are sending along with him the brother whose praise in connection with the good news has spread through all the congregations. 19 Not only that, but he was also appointed by the congregations to be our traveling companion in connection with this kind gift to be administered by us for the glory of the Lord and in proof of our ready mind. 20 Thus we are avoiding having any man find fault with us in connection with this liberal contribution to be administered by us. 21 For we “make honest provision, not only in the sight of Jehovah, but also in the sight of men.”

22 Moreover, we are sending with them our brother whom we have often proved in many things to be earnest, but now much more earnest due to his great confidence in YOU. 23 If, though, there is any question about Titus, he is a sharer with me and a fellow worker for YOUR interests; or if about our brothers, they are apostles of congregations and a glory of Christ. 24 Therefore demonstrate to them the proof of YOUR love and of what we boasted about YOU, before the face of the congregations.

Now concerning the ministry that is for the holy ones, it is superfluous for me to write YOU, 2 for I know YOUR readiness of mind of which I am boasting to the Macedonians about YOU, that Achaia has stood ready now for a year, and YOUR zeal has stirred up the majority of them. 3 But I am sending the brothers, that our boasting about YOU might not prove empty in this respect, but that YOU may really be ready, just as I used to say YOU would be. 4 Otherwise, in some way, if Macedonians should come with me and find YOU not ready, we—not to say YOU—should be put to shame in this assurance of ours. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to encourage the brothers to come to YOU in advance and to get ready in advance YOUR bountiful gift previously promised, that thus this might be ready as a bountiful gift and not as something extorted.

6 But as to this, he that sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

8 God, moreover, is able to make all his undeserved kindness abound toward YOU, that, while YOU always have full self-sufficiency in everything, YOU may have plenty for every good work. 9 (Just as it is written: “He has distributed widely, he has given to the poor ones, his righteousness continues forever.” 10 Now he that abundantly supplies seed to the sower and bread for eating will supply and multiply the seed for YOU to sow and will increase the products of YOUR righteousness.) 11 In everything YOU are being enriched for every sort of generosity, which produces through us an expression of thanks to God; 12 because the ministry of this public service is not only to supply abundantly the wants of the holy ones but also to be rich with many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Through the proof that this ministry gives, they glorify God because YOU are submissive to the good news about the Christ, as YOU publicly declare YOU are, and because YOU are generous in YOUR contribution to them and to all; 14 and with supplication for YOU they long for YOU because of the surpassing undeserved kindness of God upon YOU.

15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable free gift.