Living by Faith, Not by Sight
5 For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in, 1 is dismantled, 2 we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this earthly house 3 we groan, because we desire to put on 4 our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed, after we have put on 5 our heavenly house, 6 we will not be found naked. 4 For we groan while we are in this tent, 7 since we are weighed down, 8 because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose 9 is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. 10 6 Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth 11 we are absent from the Lord – 7 for we live 12 by faith, not by sight. 8 Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away 13 from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So then whether we are alive 14 or away, we make it our ambition to please him. 15 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, 16 so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil. 17
The Message of Reconciliation
11 Therefore, because we know the fear of the Lord, 18 we try to persuade 19 people, 20 but we are well known 21 to God, and I hope we are well known to your consciences too. 12 We are not trying to commend 22 ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to be proud of us, 23 so that you may be able to answer those who take pride 24 in outward appearance 25 and not in what is in the heart. 13 For if we are out of our minds, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ 26 controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ 27 died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. 28 16 So then from now on we acknowledge 29 no one from an outward human point of view. 30 Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, 31 now we do not know him in that way any longer. 17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away 32 – look, what is new 33 has come! 34 18 And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us 35 the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea 36 through us. We plead with you 37 on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” 21 God 38 made the one who did not know sin 39 to be sin for us, so that in him 40 we would become the righteousness of God.
God’s Suffering Servants
6 Now because we are fellow workers, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 1 2 For he says, “I heard you at the acceptable time, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” 2 Look, now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation! 3 We do not give anyone 3 an occasion for taking an offense in anything, 4 so that no fault may be found with our ministry. 4 But as God’s servants, 5 we have commended ourselves in every way, 6 with great endurance, in persecutions, 7 in difficulties, in distresses, 5 in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, 8 in troubles, 9 in sleepless nights, in hunger, 6 by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by benevolence, by the Holy Spirit, 10 by genuine 11 love, 7 by truthful 12 teaching, 13 by the power of God, with weapons of righteousness both for the right hand and for the left, 14 8 through glory and dishonor, through slander and praise; regarded as impostors, 15 and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well-known; as dying and yet – see! – we continue to live; as those who are scourged 16 and yet not executed; 10 as sorrowful, but always rejoicing, as poor, but making many rich, as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
11 We have spoken freely to you, 17 Corinthians; our heart has been opened wide to you. 12 Our affection for you is not restricted, 18 but you are restricted in your affections for us. 13 Now as a fair exchange – I speak as to my 19 children – open wide your hearts to us 20 also.
14 Do not become partners 21 with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 15 And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar? 22 Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? 16 And what mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are 23 the temple of the living God, just as God said, “I will live in them 24 and will walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 25 17 Therefore “come out from their midst, and be separate,” says the Lord, “and touch no unclean thing, 26 and I will welcome 27 you, 28 18 and I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” 29 says the All-Powerful Lord. 30