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2Cor1-2

When Paul got updated on Corinth, it appears the Christians had taken to heart what Paul had said on his visit and what Paul wrote in 1Cor. Yet, there were still some that were at odds with Paul - taking some pot shots at him for not returning to Corinth. Paul greets, updates, and addresses the concerns about his not returning during the time between visit and 2Cor.
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ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED

Shortly after being saved, I had a social conversation with a Pastor of a local church. He asked me, if I believed in the "security" of my Salvation. I did and still do. At that point he ran to his house and returned giving me some books he had written. The minister did not believe in security, he felt a Christian could lose his/her salvation. We talked off and on for a while, but neither one of us budged from our position.

I thought it strange. To me, from a common sense standpoint, "assurance" frees you from that worry of waking up every morning thinking, "Am I saved or am I lost?" So we are free to go about growing in Christian maturity.

However, I do not base my belief in assurance on my "feelings", there is plenty of evidence in Scripture. One set of verses is here:

1Cor1:1-22
"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." NIV

God "makes" - in Greek tense is an ongoing action.

Anointed, sealed, deposit - are in aorist tense - completed action.

Anointed: God has identified us, chosen if you will, and consecrated us for lives as Christians.

Sealed: Authenticated us, "In the ancient world, a seal was used to identify and to protect. If something was sealed, everyone knew who it belonged to (the seal had an insignia), and the seal prevented anyone else from tampering with the item. The Holy Spirit is upon us to identify us and to protect us." - David Guzik

Deposit - "earnest" in KJV (the idea of giving earnest money to someone).GK. word "arrhabon" meaning - "money which in purchases is given as a pledge or downpayment that the full amount will subsequently be paid."
http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/7/1156685302-7592.html

How comforting are these words. God has identified us, authenticated us, and put a down payment on us that will be fulfilled in Heaven.

This is why I think the idea from the OT that God keeps His Word is so important. God in OT over and over showed He was not a fickle God - He did what He said He would do. God's promise of salvation and our status as "co-heirs" to heaven is as rock solid as the entity standing behind those promises. Personally, I have no doubts :)
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FORGIVENESS FOR THE SINNER

Much speculation about who the "sinner" was that Paul referred to in this text. It could be the man who acted immorally with his stepmother in 1Cor5.

Whoever the "sinner was", although it bothered Paul - his point was the sinner's actions grieved the "assembly". By majority he was sent away from the "assembly. Apparently, the sinner repented, but was not allowed back.

The Corinthians were of two extremes. In 1COr5 the brethren winked and nodded at the sin - they were loathe to condemn the man. Now they were loathe to forgive the sinner even though he repented of his sin.

"Paul told them to do more than forgive, he also told them to comfort. “There may be a judicial forgiveness which is hard, and leaves the soul always conscious of the past. Comfort takes the soul to heart, and forgets. That is how God forgives, and so should we who are His children.” (Morgan)

“If discipline is largely lacking in the Church of today, so also is the grace of forgiving and comforting those who, having done wrong, are truly repentant. How often, alas! souls have been indeed swallowed up with overmuch sorrow because of the harshness and suspicion of Christian people toward them in view of some wrong which they have done . . . Love never slights holiness; but holiness never slays love.” (Morgan)

2Cor2:11
"in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." NIV

"outwit" (the Greek word pleonekteo) is used in four other verses in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 7:2, 12:17-18, 1 Thessalonians 4:6). It has the idea of cheating someone out of something that belongs to them. When we are ignorant of Satan’s strategies, he is able to take things from us that belong to us in Jesus, things like peace, joy, fellowship, a sense of forgiveness, and victory." - David Guzik

Satan's schemes were recognizable to Paul:

"Satan’s strategy against the man was first of lust, then of hopelessness and despair. Satan’s strategy against the church was first the toleration of evil, then of undue severity in punishment. Satan’s strategy against Paul was to simply make him so stressed and upset over the Corinthian Christians that he lost peace and was less effective in ministry!" - David Guzik

[NOTE: Once again the idea of a "nebulous evil force" does not jive with Paul's talk of "outwitting" and "schemes". Paul is talking about a "real" entity.]

Job 23:1-27:23

Now that I am reading Job using a different perspective, I see amongst his words and his “friend’s” words many things from a different view point. One of the things I see is this belief that when things are going badly for us, God must not be anywhere near.

If I knew where on earth to find him [God], I'd go straight to him. I'd lay my case before him face-to-face, give him all my arguments firsthand. I'd find out exactly what he's thinking, discover what's going on in his head. (Job 23:3-5 MSG)

This kind of thinking is not held exclusively by Job all of us do it, believers and unbelievers. Things not going our way or how we think they should go then either we begin making a list of everything we feel guilty of; or, if we have truly repented of our sin and we are not operating out of “false” guilt, we question God’s justice for beating us up adding, “God if you only knew!” We think God is hiding from us because we just don’t understand what is going on.

If we really stop and think and look at the process of refining silver and gold and or study how precious metals and minerals are formed in the earth, we would understand that everything valuable that God has created comes by way of seeking (Ask, Seek and Knock) pressure and/or heat. It takes heat to melt silver to skim off the dross; and even greater heat to purify gold. Diamonds are nothing but pieces of black dirty coal under a lot of pressure for a very long time. The value is increased; the beauty of the metal or mineral is enhanced by stress, lots of stress.


Mike I love your food analogy in today’s comment on Job. If we, those who are believers in Jesus Christ really examined your questions we would think about why so many of us, and in some areas, most of us, are so focused on physical food and have no relationship with the Words of God and His Christ, the Bible. Let’s just get real: Ask the question, at least pertaining to the Church in the United States, “Why are there so many obese folk filling the church pews across the country?” It could give the appearance that many of us are not getting our comfort from the Word of God but from the plate, and not the collection plate, the dinner plate. About 12-18 months ago my pastor, before he began his message, read a letter from the manager of the local Red Lobster that asked him to speak to the congregation about their behavior. You see, after Sunday services (three serves 8am; 10:30am; 1pm) folks were going over to the restaurant and demanding to be seated ahead of everyone else already on the waiting list because they were CCC members. How rude, crude and totally not Christ like. Obviously, their physical bellies were not being controlled by what they just had been given spiritually. Christ like behavior is manifested through the Fruit of the Spirit—so, show me the fruit!

It's interesting today how Job 24:12 and Psalm 41:1 tie in together. On the one hand, Job says "the groans of the dying rise from the city, and the wounded cry for help, yet God does not respond to their moaning." At this point that was Job's reality. Although he did not abandon God, his experience seemed to indicate that God DOES NOT pay attention to people's pain. But then in Psalm 41:1 it says, "Blessed is he who has regard for the weak..." Perhaps one of the primary ways that God does pay attention to humanity's groaning is through followers of Jesus who do 'have regard for the weak'. Philip Yancey once said, "the question is not 'where is God when it hurts' but rather, "where is the church when people hurt?" Worth thinking about, isn't it??

Job 23 (NKJV)
10
But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
11
My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside.
12
I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

NOTE:
Can I say I have truly followed the example of Job’s words? Honestly, I have to say I have not.

I am delighted by the following words by Andrew Murray from “With Christ In The School Of Prayer”:

“Faith is simply surrender: I yield myself to the impression the tidings I hear make on me. By faith I yield myself to the living God. His glory and love fill my heart, and have the mastery over my life.”

“Faith is fellowship; I give myself up to the influence of the friend who makes me a promise, and become linked to him by it. And it is when we enter into this living fellowship with God Himself, in a faith that always sees and hears Him, that it becomes easy and natural to believe His promise as to prayer.”

“Faith in the promise is the fruit of faith in the promiser: the prayer of faith is rooted in the life of faith. And in this way the faith that prays effectively is indeed a gift of God. Not as something that He bestows or infuses at once, but in a far deeper and truer sense, as the blessed disposition or habit of soul which is wrought [i.e., shaped, fashioned, formed] and grows up in us in a life of intercourse [i.e., intimate fellowship] with Him.”

“Though we have God’s promises in the Bible, with full liberty to take them, the spiritual power is wanting, except as God Himself speaks them to us. And He speaks to those who walk and live with Him. Therefore, HAVE FAITH IN GOD.”

WOW!

I read the verses which the Holy Spirit placed in Scripture from Job’s experience in Job 23:12—“I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”

I believe Job is saying the same thing—using different words—as Andrew Murray said in his journey of faith.

May this be true for me, and for you: “His glory and love fill my heart, and have the mastery over my life.”

I am definitely not there. I allow other unnecessary distractions to keep me from deep fellowship with the Lord. But it doesn’t have to remain that way. We can grow, little by little, each day!

The Holy Spirit is using Job and Andrew Murray to show me that no trial or heartache is an excuse to turn away from God to other things—to turn away from seeking God as the comfort of life.

source: http://www.intouch.org/myintouch/mighty/portraits/andrew_murray_213652.html

“Murray's life was not without testing. As a young man, an enduring sickness left him weak and exhausted. Later at the prime of his ministry, a severe illness resulted in his absence from the pulpit for two years. But God used each trial to remove all that hindered his devotion to Christ.”

”Murray wrote, ‘That awful pride and self complacency which have hither to ruled in my heart.’ He fought an insidious battle with pride, but God had the victory.”

“’What is the matter? Here I am, knowing that God has justified me in the blood of Christ, but I have no power for service. My thoughts, my words, my actions, my unfaithfulness - everything troubled me.’ "

"Murray's daughter wrote of her father, ‘It was after the “time of silence” [in sickness] when God came so near to father and he saw more clearly the meaning of a life of full surrender and simple faith. He began to show in all relationships that constant tenderness and unruffled lovingkindness and unselfish thought for others which increasingly characterized his life from that point. At the same time he lost nothing of his strength and determination.’ "

May I—may we—be like that.

I know that Job was not perfect and that he regularly confessed his sins and the sins of his family (Job 1). In this context, Job’s persistent determination to love God and obey is remarkable:

Job 27 (NKJV)
6
My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go; my heart shall not reproach me as long as I live.

2 Corinthians 1 (NKJV)
20
For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
21
Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God,
22
who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

NOTE:
Jesus specifically came, and the Holy Spirit is specifically given to us, that we might learn to be “established” and to walk in God’s very practical “anointing”. God has already “sealed us” and has given the Spirit in our hearts “as a guarantee”.

The only thing that is holding us back is US.

The devil is a liar and a loser, and he has no power against God. And, as we maintain vital and living fellowship with the Lord, the devil cannot keep us in his mindset of sin and confusion. “Greater is He Who is in you than what is in the world.” (I John 4:4)


Psalm 41 (NKJV)
9
Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

NOTE:
This passage is interpreted and applied by the Holy Spirit to the Lord Jesus:

John 13 (NKJV):
21
When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”
22
Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.
18
“I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me [or, eats My bread] has lifted up his heel against Me.’ [Psalm 41:9]

Proverbs 22 (NKJV)
5
Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards his soul will be far from them.

NOTE:
We can have real and great sorrow from living in this world. May we grieve in a way that draws us closer to the Lord.

May our souls be far from thorns and snares.

May our souls always be very close to the Presence and the Word of the Father, so we can have real strength and joy in all of the experiences of life on earth—and forever in heaven.

Vance


Job 23: 2 "Even today my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning. 3 If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! 4 I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments.”

Every time I study the Book of Job these same verses stand out to me. If Job did have a kink in his relationship with God, this summarizes it. Job never lost his faith in God. He never lost his awe for God’s power. However, instead of wanting to seek out God to fall on his knees before Him and ask for release from his perils, Job wants to seek out God for sole the purpose of arguing with Him. I feel that we as Christians experience this same situation from time to time. We know that God is all-powerful. We know that only God can change the tides and deliver any and all things. It is because we recognize this that we at times tend to tell God what we want, how we want it done, and when to do it, instead of asking God to take over and do what He knows is best for us. When we do this, we are as Job and actually wanting to argue our case before God instead of submitting to God’s will. We want to be the puppet master and want God to be our puppet and deliver what we want for out life. Well, we are to be God’s puppet and let God be the puppet master, we are to be the clay and let God be the potter! Yes, we are to present our case before God but then we are to turn it over to God. We are to listen to the Holy Spirit and let God take control of the situation in His on way.

God Bless!
Pat

Job23:2-6
" 2As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made me taste bitterness ofsoul,

3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils,

4 my lips will not speak wickedness, and my tongue will utter no deceit.

5 I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity.

6 I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live."

I love this passage! No matter what trials he went through...Job had the right attitude. He had determined in His heart that He would praise God and not curse Him all the days of His life. It did not matter how bad things got...His eyes were set on HIM!!!

Those verses remind me of Habakkuk 3:17-19
"17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights. "

Thank you for the challenge to care for the weak, the children, our neighbors around us and far away. When we see the immense needs in our world, in ourselves and our lives it's such a reminder of the great expanse of God's love and limitless resources! Thank you for all of the opportunities suggested on the blog of ways to support and contribute. May we live with eyes and hearts wide open to the needs of those around us and to seeing God's goodness everyday.

Mike ~

I just found your site a couple of days ago. I didn't allow myself time to read yesterday's scripture, so I read it today. WOW! So timely, so amazing how all 4 readings spoke right to my spirit with a variety of things that are happenig in my life right now...
Thank you for highlighting verse 12 in the Job reading. I did need to hear that ~ it's given me much to meditate upon and I'm re-evaluating how I view food and the Word of God!
Many blessings and I'll keep reading ~ Joanie

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