Chapter 5 picks up the train of thought from chapter 4, in which Paul delights that “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” He continues, “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Notice in these early verses Paul’s sense of assurance, and the guarantee to which he holds.
The “Therefore” in the middle of chapter 5 launches a new theme built on this security. In fact, there is a series of therefore’s in chapter 5 that you have to pay close attention to: “Therefore…we persuade others…we regard no one according to the flesh…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…” and “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ.”
Following this comes a series of commitments that flow from a grace-filled life: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers…For we are the temple of the living God…” In chapter 7: “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death…” And in chapter 8: “…For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
Amid this seemingly random set of topics, you’ll notice that the theme of Paul’s sufferings keeps rising to the surface. Pay attention not only to Paul’s recollection of his trials, but also to the way in which he speaks to the Corinthians about them. You’re allowed to notice his tone of voice and examine his attitude: what exactly is he trying to say?
Our verse for this week is Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear, O Israel. The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
2 Corinthians 5 through 8. Now let’s read it!
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.