“Word for Today” – 2 Corinthians 5 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

March 4, 2009 at 5:45 am Leave a comment

2 Corinthians 5 contains what is my “favorite” Bible verse.  I hesitate somewhat to designate any verse as my “favorite” because, I suppose, from a more thoughtful perspective, all verses should be my “favorite” since “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16).  In other words, all Scripture is God’s favorite so it should be my favorite as well.  Nevertheless, I still use the word “favorite,” even if I use it reticently, to describe 2 Corinthians 5:15:  “And Christ died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

How this verse got to be my “favorite” is an interesting, though not necessarily inspiring, story.  I was in third grade, and my teacher had given us each a rock.  “Because,” my teacher began her instructions, “Scripture is the ‘rock’ on which we are to build our lives, I want you to write your favorite Bible verse on this rock and take it home with you.”  Immediately my friends began scribbling down their favorite verses on their rocks.  John 3:16.  John 3:16.  John 3:16.  John 3:16.  “John 3:16?!” I thought to myself.  “That isn’t very creative!”  And so, I opened my Bible and began spastically flipping through its pages to find a more “creative” Bible verse than John 3:16.  And what can I say?  My Bible opened to 2 Corinthians 5:15.  Such is the story of how I gained my “favorite” Bible verse.

Although my story of how I found 2 Corinthians 5:15 isn’t exactly inspiring, at the very least, this verse’s designation as my “favorite” has remained consistent.  It has been my favorite verse since that day in third grade.  Some people, wishing to avoid the baggage that the word “favorite” carries with it, instead have what they call a “life verse.”  This terminology, however, doesn’t sit well with me either.  After all, I am called in this verse to “no longer live for myself” and I’m not sure I really live up to that admonition.  As ashamed as I am to admit it, more often than not, this “life verse” has not led, shaped, and formed my life in the way it should.  Nevertheless, in spite of all this, this verse still holds a special place in my heart.  Here’s why.

“And Christ died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”  Christ died for me so that I could live for him.  That is Paul’s message in a nutshell.  But how do I live for Christ?  That answer comes in the next verse:  “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view” (verse 16).  Living for Christ, Paul says, involves regarding others not as the world regards them, but as Christ regards them.  For the world regularly regards others as mere stair steps toward power, or as sheer objects to be exploited, or as simple crutches for support in our darker hours.  One of my favorite descriptions of regarding others from a worldly point of view comes from the atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell who describes human existence thusly:  “In the visible world, the Milky Way is a tiny fragment; within this fragment, the solar system is an infinitesimal speck, and of this speck our planet is a microscopic dot. On this dot, tiny lumps of impure carbon and water, of complicated structure, with somewhat unusual physical and chemical properties, crawl about for a few years, until they are dissolved again into the elements of which they are compounded.”  Tiny lumps of impure carbon and water whose only destiny is to be dissolved.  Most definitely a “worldly point of view” of humanity.

But this is not Christ’s point of view.  For Christ’s point of view is a view of love.  “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,” John writes, “that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are” (1 John 3:1)!  That is how God regards us.  As his children.  There has never been a person on whom you have laid eyes on who Jesus does not love and has not died for.  “And he died for all…”  So today, regard those you meet, greet, and serve not from a worldly point of view, but from a godly point of view.  Regard others with love of a father.  Regard others with the love of your Father.

Entry filed under: Word for Today.

“Word for Today” – 2 Corinthians 4 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com “Word for Today” – 2 Corinthians 6 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

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