October 20, 2007

Real Grace

One of my recent suggestions in my book Living Spirituality for reading Scripture was that we develop wise and Spirit-fired reading habits. I think we need to be more intentional about and actively aware of the significant dangers of misreading the text. Efforts to counter this, combined with better readings, will help transform our communities and churches, while inspiring a more faithful and fitting embodiment of Scripture, which can then be lived out into the world. The magnitude of this could have a profound impact on highlighting and affirming God’s missional purposes in reconciling the world to himself in Christ. Here’s the text I’d like you to consider. Read it carefully, and if you have time read the whole letter.

First this: Key points of 2 Corinthians 7

The stage then is now set for the second major part of this letter. As readers we have received another glimpse into the complex context of Paul and the Corinthians and the theological and personal concerns related to them. Hopefully, this perspective will help us to better understand this letter and in so doing to refocus our attention on the real gems that it offers us in a diversity of ways. In closing let me just point you to a few of these:

1) Conflict in relationships – how to view the other is important, especially in the Christian community – the truth of the gospel is at stake.

2) Struggles and difficulties in our lives are not ends in and of themselves. God is the God of all comfort.

3) Dangers of bringing the truth of the gospel into question should cause us to reflect carefully on our actions.

4) Godly grief leads to repentance and repentance leads to salvation and salvation to God – Salvation and God are the referents of repentance, which lead us into community with God and each other.

5) God is at work in our lives and this should make us aware of many things, including the importance of justice.

6) Where do our own loyalties lie? How are we to practice a hermeneutics of trust and suspicion in life giving ways that represent the gospel?

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