First in a series on keeping our eye on the goal (2 Corinthians 4:15-18)
“For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15).
Having already declared that his life is not his own, the Apostle Paul has no regrets that he has sacrificed his life in sharing the gospel and that he has endured many difficulties in doing so. It is all for the sake of those who came to Jesus.
In sharing the grace of God through obedient faith in Jesus, Paul has made it possible for many to abound in their thankfulness to God for all of the spiritual blessings they have received. Such thanksgiving on the part of believers brings glory to God.
Attitude is the key message coming from this great example the apostle sets for us. May our attitude be as positive and our thanksgiving as abounding as we contemplate the abundant spiritual blessings we have as Christians.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
“nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Paul seems to be almost at a loss for words as he pours forth this appeal for consecration and dedication of true believers. He says that, in view of God’s priceless love for us in providing for our eternal spiritual welfare, who could come along or what could possibly happen that would separate us from the love of Christ?
As we read Paul’s profound message and feel his emotional appeal, we are made to wonder the same thing: who could tear us away from Jesus Christ and from God, thus leading us into an eternity of pain and anguish?
Divinity has done everything possible to clear the way for us to make an abundant entrance into heaven. Surely, we recognize that fact, and surely, we appreciate the fact that we will not be required to suffer anguish in all of eternity because of God’s profound love for us and because of Jesus’ willingness to suffer in our place.
“The ox knows its owner
“And the donkey its master’s crib;
“But Israel does not know,
“My people do not consider” (Isaiah 1:3).
To say that God is upset with Israel at this point is an understatement. In spite of God’s undying love for her, in spite of all His blessings upon her, in spite of His pleading for her devotion, Israel has allowed herself to go into the depths of corruption and rejection of God—as well, she has demonstrated a total lack of gratitude for what God has done for her.
What we see in Isaiah 1 is a description of a people who are suffering from a malady called “Failure to Thrive,” meaning they have physical life in them, but they are not living spiritually—they have lost their enthusiasm for God and their dedication to His service.
We can be a people who “Fail to Thrive” today if we don’t keep a “watch” on our attitudes as well as our actions. Thriving for God means He comes first in our lives—first in our hearts, first in our time commitments, first in our priorities.
When we allow affairs of life to distract us, to lead us away from placing God first in our lives, and to keep us from being deeply grateful for the unthinkable gift of salvation, we are suffering from a “Failure to Thrive.”
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Having just presented a rousing declaration of the benefits of being in Christ Jesus, the Apostle Paul begins the climax to his wonderful message with these two rhetorical questions. He asks the Romans for their response to this unprecedented spiritual gift.
The apostle has set forth the mystery of God’s love for all Christians and the great and precious privileges that Jesus brought through His life and death; now he wants the Romans to be introspective and to allow the power of this information to penetrate their hearts, thus strengthening their faith.
How powerfully this message comes through to us. The answer to the first question is “nothing,” and the answer to the second is “no one.” No words will do in trying to explain what God has done for us by the gift of His Son and our salvation. And, no one has any real power over us if we are with God.