Our Epistle this week is 2 Corinthians 6:1-13.
As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.
Paul’s letter to the Hebrews is an appeal for those who have faithfully followed God’s law to understand that the coming of Jesus is a continuation of their relationship with God. He speaks of what he and other missionaries have endured (and continue to endure today) for the Good News, and quotes Isaiah 49 saying “In the time of my favor I heard you and in the day of salvation I helped you.” Everyone is called to look to Jesus as the representation of God Himself, sent to show us His love.
It is difficult for us to change our thoughts and behavior. Jesus understands this and teaches us that while keeping God’s law is important, treating each other according to His law is essential to our salvation. While our actions can’t earn us eternal life, accepting His love and forgiveness requires that we love each other in the same way.
If we truly love God, we must act according to His goodness and the example Christ has given. Words are important and they have meaning in our lives, but our actions have eternal consequences. Paul was changed by Christ’s love from a persecutor of the church to a builder of the church. May we also be changed for God’s work.
Loving Lord, we often say one thing and do another. Forgive our failings and let us be the servants You send to share Your Word to everyone. Amen.