A good friend posted on FaceBook, at 3:00 A.M., 2 Corinthians 5: 17. I needed that verse this morning, particularly, and felt that I needed to meditate on it for a while…
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
I love this verse. It’s one of my favorites. (I say that a lot about many verses.)
I have learned, from my preacher man, Don, if a verse starts with ‘therefore,’ or ‘For,’ or ‘So,’ or ‘and’, or ‘ Now then,’ or ‘However’ … you get the picture… that I should read the previous verse to keep the verse in context and get all out of it that God intended.
This morning, I got a good chuckle out of God’s method, as you notice 2 Corinthians 5:17 starts with ‘Therefore,’ my first clue to read the verse before it.
16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
Among other things, here I learn that ‘the flesh is mentioned,’ confirming the mention of ‘a creation’ and defining ‘old things’ in verse 17.
What? Verse 16 also begins with ‘Therefore,’ so I am intrigued to read verse 15.
15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
The big picture is becoming more clear. But, hey, this verse begins with ‘and’ and ‘and’ isn’t even capitalized in the NKJV, which means that I need to read the first part of that sentence, so I read verse 14.
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
‘FOR?’ Now, I’m smiling. God is pointing me to verse 13… that’s 5 verses I’ve read thus far. (Yes, I said ‘thus.’) So, reading backwards…
13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you.
Do you see it?! Another ‘For!’ Now, I’m really smiling.
12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart.
I laughed out loud. Not laughing at the content, but at how much fun I was having at the way God tied these verses together to keep verses from being taken out of context. You think He knew we humans might be tempted to do that? You think?
11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
How creative, using the word ‘knowing’ to prick my interest to, once more read the previous verse. AND if that wasn’t enough…. ‘therefore.’
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
I am getting the whole picture of the content much better now.
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
(Seriously?) I love this!! Stay focused on the content here, LaVon. Yes! It’s about Him.
8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
I have just read ten verses ‘tied’ together to help me understand my life in Christ Jesus.
I love God’s Word!
Of course, now I am all in. This is fun!
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Ahhh, there is is again! I recognize this verse as one that is quoted often, but I must read the previous verse.
6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.
5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
Oh, I see where my confidence comes from ‘now.’ Guaranteed by the Holy Spirit! Yes!
4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.
This verse certainly not only causes me to want to read the previous verse, but it certainly indicates why I would need to read forward. “This tent?” “Burdened?” “Unclothed??” “Mortality?” Wow!
3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.
(No capital letter.)
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,
Oh, how I want to go Home, but I must remain until God calls me. He’s not finished with me yet. More accurately, I am not yet fully prepared for my ‘job.’ in Glory.
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
He began a chapter with ‘For???’ Well, it is the fifth chapter, after all, and there are chapters before it.
2 Corinthians 4:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Reading the chapters backwards is really fun. It gives a whole new meaning to: “He (or she) knew the Bible backwards and forwards!”
Got to go now. Must read 2 Corinthians 4:… verse 15!
I AM A NEW CREATION!!