The Christian might be asked the question, "After death, then what?" Paul has given us his reasons for the joy in his sufferings, and has just said that the greater the suffering in this present world, the greater will be the glory in eternity. What is the teaching here? Paul is still discussing his ministry and answering the accusations of his enemies. He says that he works because of his love for the Lord, not because of fleshly desires. We notice four motives that controlled Paul. The first was his confidence in heaven. In chapter 4 Paul tells us his determination to serve Christ, in spite of the suffering and even death. He had lived by faith, not by sight, and his faith was not blind trust; it was a certain confidence in the Word of God. What a blessed challenge to Christians today to live by faith and not by sight. When we are willing to give ourselves fully to Christ, and trust Him for our future, we can then know the joy of real Christian living.
The second motive that controlled Paul was his concern to please Christ. This should be the concern of every Christian today. Not to please the world or self, but to please God in everything we do. In chapter 5:14- 17 we see that Paul was constrained by love to go to every extreme to win men to Christ.
The third controlling power in Paul's life was his love for Christ. When we are motivated by the same love, then we want to share with others what He has done for us. The truth of verse 17 has been shown in the lives of Christians down through the ages. If any man is in Christ he is truly a new creature; old things are passed away, and behold, all things are become new.
The final motive that controlled Paul was his commission from God. God had called Paul to preach the Gospel, and Paul was motivated because of that call.
In chapter 5:10 we are again confronted with the fact that "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." This verse should sober us into the realization that Christ is keeping a record of what is happening in our lives. Whether good or bad, the record is true and clear. The just God is keeping the books!
In chapter 6:11-13 Paul is appealing to the Christians at Corinth to be separate from the world. The church at Corinth had generally been negligent from walking uprightly before God. Paul gives specific instructions to them in these verses to be set apart for the work of the Lord. In verse 14 he tells us to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. This refers to a business relationship, as well as a marriage relationship. It is impossible for a saved and an unsaved man to join in a successful business venture. Why? Because their interests are different. Generally, the saved man is controlled by the unsaved man, and the testimony of the Christian begins to slip. In verse 17 Paul tells all Christians to come out from among them and be separate. Separation, in Scripture, is two-fold. We are to come out from the things that are contrary to God, and come to God Himself. We are to be separated from the world for testimony's sake. Too many people today are dealing and dabbling in the things of the world--thus hurting their testimony. When it is impossible for the world to tell the difference between Christians and non-Christians because of their associations, then it is time for the Christians to break those unrighteous associations! God has a great promise in verse 18 for those who will be separate. He says He will be a Father unto us, and we shall be His sons and daughters. There is nothing more blessed than the right relationship between father and son. Here God promises a wonderful relationship with Him, if we will but keep ourselves from the things of the world.
Index of Daily Devotions