Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our reading from 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 points us to two main points. First, Christianity is rooted in history. Christians believe, teach, and confess that which has always been believed. By its nature, Christianity is not innovative. It looks to the past and believes that God has never changed in His nature. “I believed, therefore I spoke.” “We believe, therefore we speak.” When someone is always seeking a new revelation, a new experience, a new burning of the Holy Spirit, we should consider it with a healthy skepticism.
More than once I have seen promotional materials for new church congregations getting started. Sometimes they will advertise “a new thing.” One church said openly that they planned to “do church like it’s never been done before.” Frankly, I have no use for such a group. If you are doing church like it’s never been done before, you are arrogantly saying that all of Christianity in the past has been doing things wrong. That isn’t the model we see in the Scripture. Christianity is revolutionary in breaking from the idea that we can earn our salvation or manipulate God by our obedience. That idea influences our conduct in the world. But in no way does it provoke revolutionary innovation.
The other big issue in our passage today is that of the seen and the unseen, the temporal and the eternal. The apostle Paul here considers all that we can see to be temporal. It may seem to last a long time, but it is not permanent. It will pass away. This doesn’t mean that we despise or abuse what we can see, but it does mean we don’t treat it as ultimately indispensable. Our physical condition, our material possessions, even our cultural or national relics will pass away. Some may take a very long time. We recall that there are, after all, a few buildings still in this world which are well over two thousand years old. They seem permanent. But there was time before they were created and there will likely be time after they are gone.
What does last forever? God’s Word, His people in the resurrection, His kingdom, His grace. God’s unseen mercies last forever.
We find ourselves easily moved by the temporal, but amazingly resistant to the eternal. May the Lord change our hearts and minds that we may also look to him with an eternal hope.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.