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May 23

2 Corinthians 5:11-15

11 Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your consciences. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to be proud of us, so that you may have a reply for those who take pride in outward appearance rather than in the heart. 13 For if we are out of our mind, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If one died for all, then all died. 15 And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised. — 2 Corinthians 5:11-15

Compelled to Persuade Men

by Ron Hutson

The world today places little credence on the concept of accountability. The idea of being responsible for our actions is too “old school” to be widely accepted by many in our society. But all of our decisions and actions have consequences, and at some point in time there will be a reckoning.

The idea of a judgment seat was presented to the Corinthians in Paul’s first letter to them. He emphasized in 1 Corinthians 3 that there was no foundation to the Christian life other than Jesus. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we build on His foundation, and our works will be judged and the rewards we receive or lose will be determined by the merits of our actions. While we are saved by the free gift of God’s grace through faith in Christ and not by any works we may do, we were created to do good works for Jesus after our salvation.

Paul told the Corinthian church again in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or worthless.” He continues, “Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we seek to persuade people.” I prefer to define the term “fear of the Lord” in this verse as “I am accountable to the Lord Jesus for my actions,” instead of being afraid of the Lord.

Jesus loved us so much that on the cross He paid the debt He did not owe so we would not have to pay the debt we owe for our sin and rebellion against God. It is His love and sacrifice that should motivate us to witness in our daily lives by word and deed.

We are Christ’s ambassadors, His hands and feet, a glimmer of light in a dark and lost world. The power available to us through the presence of the Holy Spirit provides courage for us to walk boldly for Jesus every day.

Praxis

  1. God is speaking the same message to us today as He did to Isaiah: “Whom shall I send?” Will our answer be the same as Isaiah’s: “Here I am Lord, send me”?

Ron Hutson

Ron Hutson has a BS in Management and an MS in Engineering Technology from Murray State University. He is a retired Tire Design Engineer with Continental Tire North America and American Pacific Industries, Inc. and Interim Pastor at Flatwoods United Methodist. Ron serves as a Deacon and a Table Leader for Men In Training. His wife's name is Sue Anne, and they have two children, Dr. Clint Hutson and Rachel Barnett. They also have five grandchildren. His hobbies include golf and watching college basketball. His life verse is Philippians 4:13.