Something to Think About #9

Okay…first of all let me apologize. What was published previous was the start of my notes. There was a finished blog with a picture and everything, and what posted at 6:25 was not it. I must not have hit save!!! So let’s try this again.

So back to our Friday morning routine of scripture reflection. Today’s scripture from Bible Gateway is from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1 esv

My immediate question: “What promises?”

First I look at the word in Greek. Is it simply a promise or is the more? The answer is no. Paul used ἐπαγγελίας (epangelias). It is “promises” but in a legal sense. Example: I promise to provide you with a solid roof over your head, and in return you honor me by respecting my property and paying your rent on time. If you default, There are consequences.

So what is the legal promises Paul is talking about? It is actually living in covenant with God. The verses just ahead of today’s scripture reads as follows: God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:16b-18

Notice that God is promising a dwelling place and His presence. He will be their God and Father. All he asks is that they separate themselves form other gods (idols, unclean practices, and those who encourage such things. These are the terms.

So Paul not only invites the Corinthians (and us) to enter into this agreement to live into the holiness of God, but to ponder the consequences that await those who don’t. This is where a little “fear” comes in handy.

No before you start parsing this word as awe or reverence, keep in mind that Paul uses the word φόβῳ (phobos). Sound familiar? It is the root word for phobia. There is fear, terror, and flight included in this word. Reformers like don’t like this because it implies there are consequences for those who chose to break from relationship with God. This creates some tension.

Thank God (literally) for coming in the flesh as the incarnate Christ. The cross of Jesus Christ comes with a promise that that he stands in for us. I liken this to having a divine attorney who is there to plead our case every time we break our end of the agreement…which is often!

So my friends, the message of the day is to walk with you Father, and be intentional about keeping your agreement with Him. After all, He has always kept His side of the promise!

Anything short of that makes us look like ungrateful children!

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