Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Exposed by the Grace of God

 

2 Corinthians 1:12 "Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God's grace.

There are a few words in this verse that I want to highlight, because after looking into this passage, I was extremely encouraged, and I want to pass that along! 

First of all is the word "boast". The Greek word for boast here is kauchesis, and it means "the act of boasting, which can either be in the 'achievements' of self (negatively) or about God's grace (positively); glorying, rejoicing. 

The next word I want to highlight is the word "integrity", which in the KJV it is the word "purity". The Greek word is haplotes, which means "simplicity, purity, graciousness.  Properly, 'singleness, without folds, like a piece of cloth unfolded'; i.e. not compounded or over-complicated (needlessly complex)." 

"Sincerity" in the Greek is eilikrineia, which means "Clearness. Literally, 'judged in the light of the sun'; i.e. pure inner motives." 

And finally the word "grace", which in the Greek is charis, and is defined as "favor, kindness. Refers to God freely extending Himself (His favor, grace), reaching (inclining) to people because He is disposed to bless (be near) them.  Is preeminently used of the Lord's favor - freely extended to give Himself away to people (because He is 'always leaning toward them')."

WOW! Did that get you as excited as it did me? First of all, it was encouraging to see how Paul and Timothy lived their lives in a way that basically means they "laid it all out there" for everyone to see.  Based on the definitions of purity and sincerity, I pictured a white sheet stretched out on a clothesline in the sun - nothing special - but completely exposed.  They had nothing to hide and they were willing to live that way because of God's grace. 

Oh boy - God's grace!  Don't you just love the picture that develops when you read about the word grace as defined above?  God freely extending Himself, reaching out to people because He wants to be near them!  In fact, He is "always leaning toward them"!  That blows my mind!  

I'll be honest with you, I had initially planned on skipping over this passage during my study time, but thankfully the Holy Spirit urged me to slow down and take a deeper look.  I'm so glad that I did!  

Child of God, if the picture of living an exposed life because of the grace you've received from God does not encourage you, it is time to take a closer look at the condition of your heart.  We are to be children of the light, but we can't be that if we are walking in the darkness (see Ephesians 5:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:5).  

Let me expose myself for just a moment.  I have not always lived my life in purity and sincerity, and if I said that I had, you probably wouldn't believe me.  But now that is what I strive to do.  The more I get to know my Lord, the more I want to resemble Him.  Thankfully, I now better understand that when I am willing to confess my sins - to God and to others - the enemy no longer has a hold on me.  It's when I try to keep my sin hidden that it becomes a stronghold and ammunition for the enemy to use against me.  But thinking about the grace of God, and how He is always "leaning toward" me, makes me want to live my life fully exposed.  I don't want anything to cause me to want to hide, and that is what He wants for me and you!  

If you are not a child of God, stop right now and ask Him to help you understand that He is reaching out to you, too.  That is exactly what Jesus Christ did when He died on the cross for you.  God makes it clear that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved (Romans 10:13).  Call on Him and run to Him today!