Wednesday, June 12, 2019 -
This morning I read some wonderful Scriptures in II Corinthians which go right along with what I wrote in yesterday’s journal. And I have struggled with why some don’t see the need to repent of their sin and accept Christ’s atonement for their sin. They understand all of this sin in their minds, but, in listening to this man yesterday, who I will call Texas, I’m convinced they are comparing themselves with those who are such greater sinners. Yet Isaiah 64:6 says all of our righteous deeds are as filthy rags! It is easy for someone to see themselves as good – even righteous – when in prison, surrounded by the worst sinners in society. Yet, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). “…Having concluded this, that One died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for ALL, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (II Cor. 5:14-15). No longer living for ourselves is evidence of God’s transformation within our hearts. “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old thing passed away; behold, new things have come” (II Cor. 5:17).
But Paul warned in the previous chapter that this gospel of renewal of man’s sinful heart “is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (II Cor. 4:3-4).
And so, one must ask himself if Satan has indeed blinded his mind to the truth that he is a sinner in need of repentance. Paul provides clues in both chapters 4 and 5. He says, “Light will shine out of darkness, (God) is the One who had shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (II Cor. 4:6). The next verse says that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.” Do you have the power of the Holy Spirit in your life (Acts 1:8)?
Paul and his co-workers were undergoing great prosecutions – including imprisonment, just like me, and Texas. They were “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (II Cor. 4:8-9). And so, he says, “Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of GLORY far BEYOND COMPARISON, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Cor. 4:16-18). So are you crushed in your affliction? Do your circumstances perplex you? Do you ever feel forsaken and struck down? “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21). And so, when we embrace Him, this crucified and risen sacrifice for our sin, we become “always of good courage” (II Cor. 5:6). So in afflictions, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, sleeplessness, and hunger, we are to remain as “servants (ministers) of God in much endurance” (II Cor. 6:4-6) “…as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, yet possessing all things” (II Cor. 6:10). This is how God changes our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit once we truly repent of our sin, believe in Christ’s redemption, and make Him Lord of our life. “Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2).