Summary: Just how did Jesus pay for your sins? To understand this will give you a new appreciation for just how bad evil is, how good God is, and the value of what Jesus did for you on the cross and bears for you each and every day. It also makes our job descripti
A few weeks ago we talked about the masks we as Christians put on that sometimes hides our true selves from one another. But those who do not know Christ also put on masks—to hide themselves from an awful reality that they don’t want to face—that we as humans are evil at the core.
We distract ourselves from this fact by being busy with really good things and by “hiding out in the creation” as Adam did, and hope that the good makes up for the bad things we do. In our heart of hearts, though, we fear that someday we will have to account for what we’ve done.
In Revelation 20:11 we read: “Then I saw a great white throne and One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them.” One day we will stand before the Almighty God. When that happens there will be no more distractions and nothing more to hide our true selves from God.
Hebrews 4:13 No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account
At that point there will be no excuses. God and you will be able to see clearly all of your words, deeds, thoughts, and motivations. At that point you will either stand on what you have done, and be sent away from God’s love forever—or you can have someone else’s deeds stand in for yours.
That person, of course, is the same One who will sit on the throne.
John 3:17-18 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
We’ll talk more about how that works in a few minutes. But given that only those who have the life of Jesus given to them will have eternal life, what should that do to us who already believe? That’s what we find in the second half of chapter 5 of 2 Corinthians.
11 – 12
Paul knew his motivations before God were pure and he hoped he was an open book to them as well. He was motivated by wanting people to be reconciled to God, not for greed or other selfish motives.
Showing off and using external impressiveness was just the sort of thing that was getting the Corinthians in trouble. Paul will not stoop to that level but with his focus on the gospel and the eternal state and health of people, he hopes that the Corinthians will also grab ahold of that mentality and leave the outward impressiveness behind.
There are a couple of ways to interpret this verse but I think the best way in my mind according to the flow of thought is that the word “out of our mind” means “to be insane.” It’s the same word used of Jesus by his family in Mark 3:21 , and used by Festus when he called Paul “mad” in Acts 26:22-24 . Paul’s willingness to undergo trials and also not try for outward impressiveness might have seemed foolish to the Corinthians. But God’s ways are not our ways. The message of the cross seems foolish (1 Corinthians 1:21 ) to the world, but Paul is not concerned with how he is perceived outwardly but the reality of what is going on inwardly and his mission from God.
So he might seem “mad” to those around him, but he also hopes he seems very “sane” when it comes to speaking from his heart and the heart of God to them.
14 – 15
The word “compel” means “to hold fast.” Paul cannot deviate from sharing the love of the cross even if it seems foolish. The reality is that everyone on earth is cursed by sin and that the love of the Father compelled Him to send Jesus to the cross to bear all of those sins.
Paul wrote to the Galatians:
Galatians 2:19-21 I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Because of Christ’s love that drove Him to the cross, we now change our allegiance. Instead of living for the self, we live for the One who died. He gives us life and new values and new purpose and a new spirit in His resurrection.
Paul used to look at Jesus as a Pharisee and a Jew—as a rebel man who claimed He was Messiah. But after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul’s opinion changed: Jesus IS the Messiah. His opinion about others changed as well. No longer were there Jews and Gentiles, but now all need to come to die and belong to Jesus as one.