Jesus is the light of the world, man, and Life 2 Corinthians 1 - 6 Examination
In this text, we learn that Jesus Christ, the word of God, is the only light that shines from within us, resulting in our purification of the mind and soul, when we hold fast to the faith, which is the knowledge of God. The enemy has sent messengers to deliver lies, raising them up against the knowledge of God, to weaken our faith and trust in God. Therefore, we are to take every thought captive and to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), in effort stop and examine every thought and idea, holding it in our mind; pondering, weighing, studying, examining, stretching and measuring it against the word of God, in the bible. If we find, the thought to be in alignment to the word, then we submit it as truth. However, if we discover the thought is opposite or contrary to the word, then we must destroy it. We cannot hold fast to it, under no circumstance since it is a lie of the enemy. Thereby, we will be destroying strongholds of the enemy; we will be tearing down his kingdom, which is built on lies, which have raised themselves to be equal to God. We must be diligent and thorough in our examinations, with the intention of voiding it, even if the thought is 99% good while only having 1% bad. Rat poison is mostly food, with only a little poison.
Paul teaches us, To take every thought captive and to the obedience of Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5b), but he states this, for the specific purpose of, tearing down, all thoughts, reasonings, and arguments which lift themselves up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5a). What does this mean?
Summary of Meaning. Paul exhorts the Corinthian people to understand that he is speaking the gospel of Jesus Christ; clearly, before God, himself and their conscious; so they may continue to follow his teachings, for he did not lead them astray, as some have suggested. He explains that his teachings are the truths of God, that Jesus is the light of man, shining from within man's heart, which was formerly in darkness, and this light is enlightened the gospel in our hearts, so we understand it; then we will be purified in body and soul. He is warning them to stay away from non-believers, as these relationships are harmful to them, for they could be lead astray. He instructs them to defend themselves, by examining everything they hear against the word of God; as this will destroy the lies of the enemy. The enemy establishes strongholds in people's lives through building a network of false teachings. But when we measure everything we hear and think, by applying it to the knowledge of scripture, then we will see if it still stands, or if it brought low. Anything that is contrary to God's holy word is a lie, and can not stand.
Lets Establish Biblical Context. Paul send the Corinthian church a former letter and his words were harsh. The people received the message and Titus, who delivered it, with fear and trembling; and they repented, but only for a short period. And he was faced with the decision to go there in person or to write another letter. He chose to write, instead of going, even though he had stated he would go. Certain people used this as an occasion against him. They rose up against him declaring that he is untruthful, unclear, out of his mind, and he is an impostor who speaks from worldly wisdom; they stated he doesn't know the truth (2 Corinthians 5:13; 6:8-9).
Paul begins his response by explaining that God's promises are yes and amen, so it is by God that believers stand, including him, as well as, them (2 Corinthians 1:18-21). Thusly, the meaning of this is, that, if his words were true, the Lord would be a witness to that truth, as the Holy Spirit came to convict the world of righteous and sin, and He lives inside their hearts so they will know for sure, as the Spirit will testify to it as truthful, with a yes and amen, or not.He then opens up by indicating that he didn't make another visit to spare them additional grief. He didn't want to 'lord' over their faith, instead he wanted to be a 'fellow-worker' with them; for it is by faith that we stand firm, not by the letter of the law. He offered grace, instead of offering more strict doctrinal teachings; and in doing so, he allowed them to be joyful, so as to share in their joy. He added that he is in anguished, for even having to write, at all, but he was doing it out of love, not to grieve them; and to all this, he calls God as his witness (2 Corinthians 1:21-24; 2:1-4). He explains that his conscience is clear, which testifies that he acted with integrity and godly sincerity towards them; using no unclear wording, not relying on worldly wisdom, but rather God's grace (2 Corinthians 1:12-13); teaching the truth of God.
Therefore, he doesn't get discouraged, even with these claims, as God gave him this ministry, and he denounces secret and shameful ways; not using deception or distortion of the word of God (2 Corinthians 4:1-2). But most importantly, he says things clearly and in understandable language so that his words can be evaluated by everyone's conscious as they hear it (2 Corinthians 4:3); for the conscious can bear witness. He states that if the gospel is veiled, it's only veiled to nonbelievers, for the enemy has blinded them from the light of the gospel, which is Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). The light of the gospel; which is the light of the world; which is the light of man; which is the light of life, is Christ Jesus (John 1:4; 8:12). Apart from Jesus, there is nothing (John 15:51). There is no light in man.
Paul boldly preaches the light of Christ in man; for he states that God has said, Let light shine out of darkness, so it is that we preach; for Jesus' light has come come into our darkened hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory, displaying in the face of Christ, for He is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4-6). For in us, there was only darkness; our hearts were darkened by our depravity, our disobedience against God (Romans 1:21-22). Our hearts were hardened and darkened, but through His rich mercy, He graciously allowed His glories light, His Son, to come into our hearts, as the Spirit, to shine in that dark place, so we could know Him; thereby allowing u to know and understand the knowledge within the holy word of God.
Paul further adds to this claim, that we are but only 'jars of clay,' and this frail vessel was designed to show, the glory of God; for we have no shine within ourselves, so any light shining from us, would most undoubtedly have to be from Him; this marvelous paradox is to show the superior power is from Him, certainly not us (2 Corinthians 4:7). How can we know for sure, the light is of Him and not of us? This all-surpassing power is demonstrated to be His, because we are not trampled under foot, even though we are fragile vessels, in fiery trials in this life; when though we are pressed down, perplexed, persecuted and struck down - we never are crushed or destroyed; we are always being delivered over to death, as Jesus was, but we, like Him, are never dying. This spectacularly demonstrates that the power is not within us, but is Him within us; for we are nothing more than little clay jars, which are fragile and break easily under pressure; we are only capable of achieving death on our own. Only life and light come down from heaven. His death and life are always on display in our bodies, through the trials we ensure, but we never perish. (2 Corinthians 7-12). Paul don't lose heart, as he is being renewed inwardly, day-by-day, for the Light within them, even though he faces trials and afflictions, he counts them as momentary troubles, for he is pressing on towards achieving the eternal glory, for them; and this far outweighs any of his problems, so they can fix their eyes on what is unseen for it's eternal, not what is seen as it's temporary (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
In the name of Jesus, I pray your eyes are opened to this truth. Jesus is the light of the world and the light of man. God said His light would shine in the darkness, which is our hearts. This light is shining in our hearts, so we can see the laws of God which are stored in our hearts; both the law that He wrote there, and the gospel teachings we store there; and our conscious and the Spirit are there to confirm the truth. Therefore, when we hear truth, we know it is to be true. Jesus said, Whenever he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him; for they don't know the voice of strangers. (John 10:4-5). And he continued later, by adding, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, they follow me (John 10:27).
Now the beauty of all of this, is that we are fragile clay jars, which break easily under pressure; and before coming to Christ, we broke often. We were filled with fear and anxiety, only finding rest and comfort in knowing Him. We didn't have the wisdom, perfection or knowledge within ourselves, actualized or unactualized, to overcome the difficulties of life, for we do all we could do in these situations, but we are never able to overcome them. The negative situation still stands, the error of our thoughts and ways always persists, and we find no remedy to fix the brokenness. We are unable to bring relief; we are unable to heal ourselves or others of our physical, mental or emotional wounds. Even research shows, the more time dedicated to meditative yoga, the more negativity and emotional and mental harm is created in the person. The 'Masters' delude us by saying is is because the negativity is being released and never to be experienced again; but regardless of the length of time involved over years and years, there is never a pureness of state achieved. Negative thoughts and feelings always come back, as we can not purify ourselves, outside of the light and fire of Jesus Christ Himself. There is no light or life, outside of Jesus, for the Lord has spoken, so we can know this glorious heavenly wisdom. It is not to be shunned or spurned as bad news, for it is good news. We have an ointment available; we have a healing balm which will cure any element to the woes of mankind, and it is freely available to all who desire it; and it can be obtained anywhere in the world at any moment, the person desires; it is immediately delivered to set the person free of what ails them. We can measures everything that stands against this truth; and if it is found to be contrary, then we can tear it down, by subjecting it to Jesus, and putting it under His feet, by taking every thought captive and into the obedience of Christ. It can't stand against the truth, if it is a lie. And the New Age Movement, with all its yoga, mediation, mantras, crystals and Kundalini practices are lies, which can't stand against this truth, for they say that light can be found apart from Jesus Christ, either in man, in nature or in rocks. The gospel is clear, as Paul clearly spoke to them; he is clearly speaking to us, now, through the written word which is alive and active, sharper then a double edged sword.
Once Christ came into our hearts, we were able to see the truth of His promises, which gave us strengthen through Him; for in our weakness, we were made strong. This is clear that the light is not buried within us. It's proof there is only darkness. It's proof that the light is external to us. It's proof that Jesus is the Son of God, for the light is only in Christ Jesus, and apart from Him there is only darkness (1 John 1:5). It's proof that these few men who carried this 'secret' knowledge down through the centuries, which they've newly released to mankind is the same old repackaged lie that Satan first told Eve, in the Garden.
Paul continues to explain, we who fear the Lord, through knowing that all must appear before His judgment seat, to receive the things they practiced in their body; so we preach the good news in their hearing to persuade them. He states to God we are plainly visible; and he hopes his speech was, also, plainly visible in their conscious, so they would understand that he was speaking the truth of God, and not 'talking out of his mind' as some charged. (2 Corinthians 5:10-13). Paul knew the people would appear before the judgment seat of God, so he has dedicated his life to preaching the gospel, to lead them to repentance. The love of Christ, and the reconciliation of the cross, the putting away of our sins, for all these reasons, we could be restored to fellowship with God, he was committed to preaching this redemptive message as Christ's ambassadors, as if Christ was making the appeal through him directly, for this reason he implored them to be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
Paul continues, we can take heart with courage in facing these trials, because even if our clay jars are destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal heaven with Him (2 Corinthians 5:1). This clay jar is painfully uncomfortable to us, for we know the hope of the glory that is before us, additionally we groan in longing to get out of it, eagerly waiting until we can be clothed in our heavenly dwelling at home with the Lord. This is a trustworthy truth, sealed secure with a deposit given by God, the Holy Spirit, to guarantee it. (2 Corinthians 5:1-9). Consequently, we see there is only death in our mortal body, and the only life within us is Christ Jesus, given these points, we long to leave this earthen vessel to gain our eternal body in with Jesus in heaven. Again, there is no mention of glory being hidden, within us; this body is perishable.
God's message of love and redemption is sweat and expansive, correspondingly it sweeps over the entirety of our souls, consequently they've dedicated their entire lives to proclaiming the good news, as Christ works through them to achieve that goal. It's a beautiful call to evangelism for all believers, furthermore it's the battle cry of a warrior, a call to arms, to warn and protect the flock for heaven and hell are real. He speaks plainly, given that his words are sharper then a doubled-edged sword, to split soul and spirit; for most compellingly, God sees and knows, and he strongly desires for them to see and know also. Know what? That in us there is only darkness; whereas in Christ Jesus, alone, there is only light. There is no shifting from the left to the right, as a result, there is no shadow found in Him (1 John 1:5). If we know the story of the apostle's lives, we know they suffered greatly to deliver this good news to the world. Paul is saying, Christ's love spurred him onward, not selfish gain or deceptive words, rather his love for God and for his fellow man, thus resulting in his persistent will to continue, disregarding himself, for he is strength was found in God. He desired that all should come to a saving faith, just as he did.
Paul beseeches them not to have received the word of truth in vein, for today is the day of salvation; today is the time of God's favor (2 Corinthians 6:1-2). Additionally, he appeals to them of his truthfulness and honesty, inspired through the speaking of the Holy Spirit with the power of God, offering sincere love, in truthful speech, not putting a stumbling block before them, while speaking freely to them, and clearly outlining the suffering he has endured for this great cause (2 Corinthians 6:3-13). Then Paul continued, by warning them to not be connected with unbelievers; for what does righteousness and wickedness have in common, since they are temples of the living God. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
He summarizes by stating, Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God(2 Corinthians 7:1 NIV). This is the culmination of the book up to this point. Paul is saying, since we know that the light of man is in the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who died for the remission of our sins, and has come into our hearts to light the truth of the gospel, so that we may know it, and have life, then let us stray from evil people and sinful practices, and instead let us be reconciled to God for the light is only found in His Son, Jesus Christ.
He is leading them to pureness of body and soul, which is the perfecting of holiness. How are they to achieve this? By ridding themselves of non-believers who are teaching them lies of the enemy, and possibly leading them into idolatry, which will establish strongholds of the enemy in their lives, which will hinder their spiritual purification of the body and soul, which only results from maintaining the knowledge and promises of God.
Further Examination. Paul warns us, Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals (2 Corinthians 15:33 NIV). Again, Paul continues to explain that he did not exploit them in any way, and how proud he is of their financial offering to the new Macedonian church, for the word was established in them, which he gave them. Their generosity is the proof of their spiritual development of following the teachings of Christ, which he taught them. He has been lightly warning them in this letter to stay true to his teachings; but he warns that he will be bold against the people who falsely accuse him of living by the standards of this world. Instead he states that the weapons of our army are spiritual, not earthly, and mighty with God, to destroy strongholds. Destroying every thought that lifts itself up against the word of God, by taking every thought captive and to the obedience of Christ; while being ready to punish every act of disobedience, until their obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:1-6).