Friday, January 21, 2022

Formed By the Word: Week 2 ~ Perspective: Eyes Wide Open

Week 2 ~ Perspective: Eyes Wide Open

Today is part two in a series of Words challenge posts looking at Chapters 3-5 of 2 Corinthians. These chapters contain a lot of "perspective" words. Words such as seen/unseen, light, reveal, veiled/unveiled, display, show, reflect, sight, see, look, eteranl/temporary, blinded, regard, view, eyes. Paul's theology in his letters is that the right perspective is God's perspective. In these chapters in 2 Corinthians he shows that godly perspective impacts how we live, how we see others, how we view trials and suffering and the circumstances of life, and how we view eternity. So we will break these down and dig into them:

Eyes Wide Open

When we behold Christ and see Him in the right light we come to see things - the world, circumstances, people, etc. - from God's perspective. In a sense we have new eyes, eyes that are wide open to His will and His ways. This is a part of our spiritual transformation. As we grow in Christlikeness our spiritual eyesight will grow as well. 

Now that we see Christ clearly – as the glory of God – we must then see ourselves more clearly as those who are in Christ. In Christ we are new creations (5:17), He took our sin that we “might become the righteousness of God’ (5:21). Thus, we are called to live by God’s standards, growing and maturing, being transformed into the image of Christ (3:18).

How then does Paul call us to live in these chapters in 2 Corinthians? By being living epistles of Christ.

You yourselves are our letter [Greek = epistle], written on our hearts, known and read [proven by experience, seen, displayed] by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry [Paul made his life known to them and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with them, turning their hearts to Jesus], written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone [like the old covenant] but on tablets of human hearts [The new covenant - God poured the light of the knowledge of the glory of Christ into their hearts (4:6)].” 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 

The prophet Ezekiel shared God's promise that He would bring a New Covenant with His people:

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." Ezekiel 36:26-27

If you read last week's post these verses from Ezekiel fit right in. The heart of stone that God removes is the heart and mind that is veiled (2 Cor 3:13,14,15,4:3,4) and unable to see with spiritual eyes. But when we "turn to Christ, the veil is removed" (2 Cor. 3:16) and God's Spirit is in us through Christ. We have a new heart AND new eyes, which enable the renewing of our minds.

And, thus, Paul says we are living epistles. The gospel words are heard best when they are seen first in gospel lives – living epistles, displaying the character of Christ. We are called to live, to minister, to preach and speak, and to serve in ways that show God’s glory and reveal Christ. We are called to be Christ’s ambassadors (5:20) who are given the ministry of reconciliation (5:18), commissioned with the message of reconciliation – “that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them” (5:19). He has called us to implore others to be reconciled to God – those who do not know Him, as well as those who know him but are not living for Him. For the love of God in Christ, who died for us, compels us to live for Christ and not for ourselves. 

"For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Our life in Christ comes with privileges and with responsibilities. We live, minister, speak, and serve so that others are drawn to “the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ” (4:4) and that His “grace may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” (4:15). We live for His glory!

So, with spiritual eyes we see ourselves more clearly - we are living epistles, ministers of reconciliation, Christ's ambassadors - all of us who are in Christ are called to these roles. They are to become a part of who we are in Christ, our identity. May we see clearly who we are in Christ!

I would love to have you to join me in being formed by the Word this year. After reading the above post, do some study on your own. Dig deeper into the verses and passages mentioned and then respond creatively. Share your thoughts and creative responses in the comment section below or on social media with #formedby theword and #wordsartandfaithgroup, and in our private Facebook group for words challenges the Words Art and Faith group.


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