… If a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether—the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new (2 Cor. 5:17, Phillips; read vv. 1–21).

To be useful for God and the Church a man needs to maintain the freshness of the new life he received when he was born again. As Paul grew older he found such freshness “in Christ.” Through this chapter he points to five sources of spiritual refreshing:

I. Awareness of the Divine Presence (v. 18). The God who has provided a means of reconciliation between the sinner and himself continues to share his grace with the one he has redeemed. With the passing experiences of life a man’s understanding of God is enlarged. He knows that God is directing his life. Through the Spirit he finds a revitalizing mystery that draws him ever forward. For one who daily walks with God, as Paul did, life can never grow stale.

II. A Sense of Man’s Spirituality (v. 16). Paul no longer bases his knowledge of a man on his outward life, but evaluates him according to his inner worth as a child of God with capacity to exist forever. In associating with different persons Paul weighs their potential when transformed by the Lord. So Paul accepts each person as a challenge to attain the highest potential. The Apostle’s alertness increases with spiritual invigoration.

III. A Balance of Spiritual Motives (v. 14). When the love of Christ controls a man, there is no limit to his endurance. To him the Spirit imparts greater stability and spiritual vitality for daily needs. In order through Christ to have vitality for each opportunity of life, he feels that he must go beyond himself.

IV. Active Partnership with God (vv. 18–20). By committing to his partner the ministry of reconciliation, God shows how ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.