These simple verses capture the heart of the good news. Lowering Himself, the sinless Jesus took our sin upon Himself and canceled its power through His death and resurrection. As believers are united with Him, they are raised up with Him and embody God’s righteousness, experiencing forgiveness, reconciliation, and new life. This righteousness is a new creation gift that can never be separated from the Giver, and so believers only experience it because they are “in Him.”
6 As for those of us working as His emissaries,[a] we beg you not to take the grace of God lightly. 2 For God says through Isaiah,
When the time was right, I listened to you; and that day you were delivered, I was your help.[b]
Look, now the time is right! See, your day of deliverance is here! 3 We are careful in what we teach so that our words won’t be a stumbling block and so that no one will discredit our ministry. 4 But as God’s servants, we commend ourselves in every situation. So that with great endurance we persevere even in anguish and hardship. We have been cornered by the enemy5 suffering beatings, imprisonments, uproars, toil, sleeplessness, and starvation. 6 And by the Holy Spirit with purity, understanding, patience, kindness, and sincerest love we have proved ourselves. 7 Now with the voice of truth and power of God—armed on the right and armed on the left with righteousness from God—we continue. 8 Whether respected or loathed, praised or criticized as frauds, yet true, 9 as unknown to this world, and yet well known to God, we serve Him. We are treated as dying and yet we live, as punished and yet we are not executed. 10 Though we are sorrowful, we continually rejoice. As the poorest of the poor, we bring richness to all, and though we have nothing, we possess all things.
11 Corinthians, we have been completely open to you. We’ve exposed the truth, holding nothing back while our hearts open wide to take you in.12 We have revealed our affection toward you—though it’s obvious you have a hard time showing your affection toward us. 13 If I could offer some fatherly advice: open yourselves up as children; share your hearts with us as we have done for you.
14 Don’t develop partnerships with those who are not followers of Jesus’ teachings. For what real connection can exist between righteousness and rebellion? How can light participate in darkness? 15 What harmony can exist between the Anointed and Satan?[c] Do the faithful and the faithless have anything in common? 16 Can the temple of God find common ground with idols? Don’t you see that we house the temple of the living God within us? Remember when He said,
“I will make My home with them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be My people.[d] 17 So then turn away from them, turn away and leave without looking back,”[e] says the Lord. “Stay away from anything unclean, anything impure, and I will welcome you.[f] 18 And I will be for you as a father, and you will be for Me as sons and daughters,”[g] Says the Lord Almighty!
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