The Second Sunday after Trinity  – June 26, 2022

also known as the Fourth Sunday of the Pentecost Season

The Unchangeable,  Absolute (and Only) Gospel


     There are many people today who are convinced that  “There are no absolutes in life.”    In other words, these people believe that here is nothing that remains absolutely changeless, inviolable, and unvariable – forever constant (and binding on them, or anyone else).  

     Now, it’s true that our environment changes – from the earth’s topography to climactic conditions.   Literature and art change with the times.   In our industrialized society, technology daily brings changes to our world.    Forces within our culture would like to see the morality of our society change too, and they’re doing their best (or, worst) to make that so.   There are even those who believe that in matters of religion, faith, and  spirituality, change is not only inevitable but necessary.

     But from a Biblical, truly Christian perspective, the opinion that “there are no absolutes in life” is an utterly erroneous one.   Not only is our God unchangeable (Malachi 3:6 – “I the LORD do not change!”), but His truths are equally unchangeable (John 10:35 – “The Scriptures cannot be broken” and John 17:17 – “Your Word is truth”).  

     This morning we will be focusing our attention on “The Unchangeable, Absolute (and Only) Gospel.”    What we mean by that is that there is only one “Good News” (Gospel) of salvation…. and it is this:  That God has saved us all, not by our own efforts or merit, but by His grace, through faith in the redeeming work of Christ Jesus, His Son, our Lord and Savior. 

     Throughout the history of the Christian Church, certain men and movements have tirelessly tried to add to or change the absolute truth of this Gospel of Christ.   Instead of holding Christ up before humankind as the Only Way, the Only Truth, and the Only Life (John 14:6), these false teachers have maintained that eternal salvation can be achieved by human effort and earnestness, while others have taught that Christian faith – centered on Jesus – is just one of many ways a person can attain heaven.   Others have wrongly emphasized that salvation is through “faith in Christ,” PLUS obedience, good works, etc.

     This morning, as we study the Scriptures, may God the Holy Spirit lead us to realize that eternal life is available to all people, not through their efforts nor through a multitude of spiritual avenues, or by following certain religious regulations,…..but only and exclusively through the Gospel – the Good News of salvation for all through faith in Christ Jesus alone.

     In today’s First Lesson Paul maintains that he has not distorted the truth of the Gospel in any way.   Rather, simply and consistently he and his coworkers are the ones who have been proclaiming the one and only, true Gospel – namely, the Good News that salvation is ours solely through faith in the redeeming life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

     Our Second Lesson comes from the inspired pen of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans.   Our reading is part of a larger section (chapters 9-11) in which Paul discusses who the true descendants of Abraham – and so who the true “Israel” is.   He states that the real Israel/ancestors of Abraham are not biologically descended from the patriarchs, but are those believers who share the faith of Abraham – i.e., the true Israel is the true Christian Church which trusts for its salvation not in its merits or a biological pedigree, but in the redeeming work of Christ our Savior for us.

     In this morning’s Gospel Lesson Jesus pronounces Six Woes (similar to His “Seven Woes” from Matthew 23) upon the Pharisees.   He justly criticizes and condemns them for their legalism in spiritual matters by which they wrongly assumed that “faithfulness” before God could be equated with ones outwardly religious behavior and slavish, to-the-last-letter observances of various religious laws (the Lord’s and their own Pharisaic regulations).  

     The Children’s Lesson has been prepared around this familiar passage:   Romans 1:16.    Here Paul describes the Gospel as a special God-given power for the salvation of those who believe in Christ ( – not who do good works under the false notion that they can earn their way into heaven).    We’ll use the illustration of Dynamite in connection with the Gospel (in fact, the Greek word for “power” is “dynamis,” from which our word “dynamite” is derived) to make the point that the Gospel possess the power from God to blow apart a person’s unbelief and, instead, powerfully produce a spiritual change of heart that miraculously results in saving faith in the LORD.

     Finally, in connection with our Sermon we’ll draw for our instruction upon the Lord’s words, through Paul, to the church in Galatia (mid-southern Turkey today).   Here the Apostle warns recent converts to the Christian faith to beware of certain false teachers in their midst who lately had been attempting to instruct the congregation to believe that the Gospel he had taught them (faith in Christ alone for ones salvation) was insufficient.  These false teachers (or Judaizers) insisted that, to ensure salvation, faith must be coupled to a person’s observance of various OT Jewish religious regulations.    Bluntly Paul declares that faith-plus-(anything) is “another Gospel, which is really NO Gospel at all.”   He condemns such teachings because he knows that they can lead a soul to forfeit God’s grace throughly trusting instead in him-/herself for salvation……a truly hopeless and ultimately damnable solution, when one honestly examines life in general, those who live in this world, and what the Word of Life (Scripture) teaches regarding the Gospel.   Finally, the Apostle to the Gentiles urges the Galatians to hold firmly and confidently to what he had taught them when he was among them – namely, the unalterable, absolute (and only) Gospel which, alone, can be used by the Spirit to bring about faith and salvation’s assurance.




A Word Of Welcome To Our Guests . . . Good morning and welcome to Grace Lutheran Church.  We’re pleased that you’ve chosen to be a part of our worshiping assembly this morning.  Whether you are a guest today or a member of this Christian family, your presence at this service is sincerely appreciated.  It is our wish that the time you spend here will be enjoyable and spiritually edifying, and so it is our desire to serve you in the best way we can.  If there is anything that we might do to assist you in your worship today, please speak with one of our ushers or our Pastor.  They will be pleased to serve you in any way they can.

     Following the worship service this morning, we invite you to join those around you for some coffee, refreshments, and good conversation in our gymnasium/fellowship hall, which is the building just east of our church building.  If you are able, we would also be honored to have you remain after today’s fellowship time in order that you might further hear and study the Scriptures with us in one of our Bible Classes or Sunday School classes.  And, we hope that you will come back soon to again praise the Lord with us.  May God bless you and your worship of Him today.





Pre-Service Prayer    Heavenly Father, as I enter Your sanctuary again today, I seek Your guidance and blessing to make my worship of You as positive and as beneficial as possible for my faith.   Help me to avoid distractions this morning.   Fill me with the enthusiasm to praise You with all my heart and soul.   Please guide me, through Your Holy Spirit, to gladly receive again the Gospel’s assurance that my sins are all forgiven and my salvation is secure in the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Redeemer.   Help me every day to put my faith in Christ into practice through everything I think, say, and do.    These things I ask in the name of and for the sake of Your Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   Amen.




The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019, The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via  #A712831




Prayer upon entering the sanctuary                                                                     

Pre-service Music                                                                                                                                                                           


Greeting and Invitation to Worship



We Praise Our God


The Opening Hymn                                                                                         “God the Father, Gracious Lord”

To the tune of “Come You Thankful People, Come” (CW 613)

meter:    7777D   cwh 2005


God the Father, gracious Lord,   May Your name be e’er adored.  All exists by Your command   In the sky or sea or land.

Precious Father, You know all –     When each hair and sparrow fall.   Guide and guard me from all harm    With Your strong, protecting arm.


Jesus Christ, my Lord, God’s Son,   Who, for me, salvation won –   You Who hung on Calvary   Bore my sins and set me free!

You, my ever-faithful Friend,    Who will love me to the end,   By Your grace in heav’n I’ll live.    Heart-felt praise to You I give.


Holy Spirit, Light Divine,     Through the Means of Grace, please shine   In my heart again today,   Drive sin’s darkness far away.

Keep me in Your Word, so true,  Day by day my faith renew.   Use me, Lord, as You know best   Serving here – in heav’n to rest.


Blessed Holy Trinity,   Glorious in Your majesty,   Father, Spirit and the Son –   Savior-God, the Three-in-One –

From sin’s curse You set me free   Heaven’s mine – eternally.   All I am, to You I owe,   Source from Whom all blessings flow.


after which the Congregation will rise for


The Invocation


We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.


Our Psalm Reading for Today                                                                                                              Psalm 32


P:  Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

C: Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.

P:  When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.


  • For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.


P:  Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity.



  • I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”– and You forgave the guilt of my sin.




  • Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to You while You may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.

C: You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.




  • I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.


  • Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.


P:  Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.

C: Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!



The Prayer For This Morning


Heavenly Father,   +  We will never be able to comprehend the fullness of Your grace to us.   +   But we do know that, without it we would be lost eternally.   +   And so we thank and praise You this morning   +   for Your amazing and undeserved love for us in Christ.    +   Through His redeeming work, +   You saw to it that we have been saved from sin’s curse, +  Satan’s power, +  and eternal death in hell.   +   Please strengthen our faith today and every day  +   through Your Holy Spirit’s working in the Word     so that we remain faithful to You to the very end,   + and receive faith’s goal:   eternal life in heaven.   We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ,   +   Your Son our Lord,   Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit   + as the One, true God,   +   now and forever.   +   Amen.



We Confess our Sins to the Lord


Pastor       Brothers and sisters in Christ:    the Word of God urges us to confess to our Lord all our sins of thought, word, and action.   Rhis is something that ought to be daily part of our spiritual lives, and should come forth from every heart that is humble and penitent.    But we should especially do this

 when we meet together in His house to thank God for all that He has done for us, to praise Him, and to hear His life-giving Word.    Therefore, come with me now, to our Heavenly Father’s throne of grace, and let us confess our sins together.


Congregation Miserable person that I am,   +   I confess and lament to You, O most holy God,  +   that I  am a weak and sinful creature,  +  guilty of every sin, of unbelief, and of blasphemy. +   I also confess that Your Word has not brought forth good fruit in me.   +   I hear it, but do

 not receive it earnestly.   +   I do not show works of love toward my neighbor.   +   I am full of anger, hate, and envy.   +   I am impatient, greedy, and bent on every evil.   +   Therefore my heart and conscience are heavy.   +   Lord, I ask You, free me from my sins,   +   strengthen my faith,   +   and comfort my weak conscience by Your divine Word,  +   that I may obtain Your promised grace.


Pastor       Having humbly and sincerely confessed your sins before Almighty God, now be strengthened in your faith, mindful that our Lord is not willing that anyone should perish eternally, but that everyone should come to repentance, turning from their evil ways and receiving from Him everlasting life.  

 God has commanded His ministers to declare His forgiveness of sins to all who are penitent.   Therefore, rest assured that your sins have been fully covered by the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ your Savior.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.   In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


Now, in the peace of God’s forgiveness, let us together praise our gracious and glorious Lord!


The Congregation responds by singing                                                               “The Lord, my God be Praised”

                                                                                                                                                              (CW 610)


The Lord, my God be praised, My God Who ever-living To Whom the Heav’nly host   All praise and honor giving

The Lord, my God, be praised   In Whose great name I boast God Father, God the Son   and God the Holy Ghost


To Him with joyful song    Our praises we are bringing   And with the angel throng    Thrice “Holy” we are singing,

With one united voice    The Church does Him adore.   The Lord, my God, be praised    Now and forevermore.    Amen.



We Hear God’s Word


The First Lesson                                                                                                                 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

Therefore, since we have this ministry as a result of the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged. 2 On the contrary, we have renounced shameful, underhanded methods. We do not operate in a deceitful way, and we do not distort the word of God. Instead, by proclaiming the truth clearly, we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing. 4 In the case of those people, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from clearly seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is God’s image.


5 Indeed, we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For the God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” is the same one who made light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ.






The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                                Romans 1:16.17


16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes—to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed by faith, for faith, just as it is written, “The righteous will live by faith.”


The Gospel……Spiritual Dynamite



The Second Lesson                                                                                                                  Romans 10:1-13

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God on behalf of the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 Indeed, I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but it is not consistent with knowledge. 3 Since they were ignorant of the righteousness from God and sought to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness from God. 4 For to everyone who believes, Christ is the end of the law, resulting in righteousness.


5 Indeed, Moses writes this about the righteousness that comes by the law: “The one who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that comes by faith speaks like this: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith that we are proclaiming. 9 Certainly, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and it is with the mouth that a person confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”


12 So there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord is Lord of all, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 Yes, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


After which the Congregation will rise for



The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                     Luke 11:37-54


37 After Jesus spoke, a Pharisee invited him to have a meal with him. He went in and reclined at the table. 38 When the Pharisee saw this, he was amazed that he did not first wash before the meal. 39 But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 Fools! Didn’t the one who made the outside also make the inside? 41 But give those things that are inside as a gift to the poor, and see, everything will be clean for you. 42 But woe to you Pharisees, because you give a tenth of mint and rue and every herb, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have done these things without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the best seat in the synagogues and the greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it.”


45 One of the legal experts answered him, “Teacher, by saying these things you are insulting us too.”


46 But Jesus said, “Woe to you legal experts too, because you load people down with burdens too difficult to carry, and you yourselves do not touch these burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you because you build monuments for the prophets, but your fathers killed them. 48 So you are witnesses and agree with what your fathers did, because they killed them, and you build their monuments. 49 For this reason the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles. Some of them they will kill and persecute, 50 so that this generation may be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed from the foundation of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary.’ Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation. 52 Woe to you legal experts, because you took away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were trying to enter.”


53 When he went away from there, the experts in the law and the Pharisees began to oppose him fiercely and to question him closely about many things. 54 They were plotting against him to trap him in something he said.




The Apostles’ Creed


I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;   Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;   Born of the Virgin Mary;  Suffered under Pontius Pilate;   Was crucified, dead and buried;   He descended into hell;   The third day He rose again from the dead;   He ascended into heaven And sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;   From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Ghost;   The Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints;  The forgiveness of sins;   The resurrection of the body;    And the life everlasting.  Amen.



The Sermon Hymn                                                              Hymn 382  “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less”



After which the Congregation will rise for


The Pre-Sermon Greeting


Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.   May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer!   Amen.



The Sermon Text                                                                                                                     Galatians 1:1-10

Paul, an apostle—not from men, nor through a man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all of the brothers who are with me,  To the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 He gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father— 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.


6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ, for a different gospel, 7 which is really not another gospel at all. There are, however, some who are trying to disturb you by perverting the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven would preach any gospel other than the one we preached to you—a curse on him! 9 As we have said before, so I now say again: If anyone preaches to you any gospel other than the one you received—a curse on him!   10 Am I now seeking the favor of people or of God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to gain the approval of people, I would not be a servant of Christ.


The Unchangeable,  Absolute (and Only) Gospel


following the sermon the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for


The Post-Sermon Blessing


To Him Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior, be glory, majesty, power, and authority now and forever.  Amen.



We Offer Our Gifts to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.

   However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash) to the church address

 (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can donate on our website:


as the offerings are brought forward, the Congregation will remain seated for

We Bring Our Prayers to the Lord


Our Prayers for Today


In our prayers this morning we include

A Prayer of Intercession on behalf of our brother, Dan Beck, who is continuing to faithfully contend  with the affliction of cancer;

and, in addition,

A Prayer of Thanksgiving on behalf of Rachel and Micah Galvan,

who were blessed with the gift of a healthy son, Silas, who was

born this past Tuesday morning.



The Prayers for this Day    


P   O LORD, Almighty and Everlasting God, we pray for the temporal needs of ourselves and  others, both here in our community and everywhere throughout the world, that as the Father and Maker of heaven and earth, You would continue to open Your hand and satisfy the desire the every living thing, and that we would recognize that it is You who richly and daily provides us with all that we need to support this body and life.


C  Heavenly Father, we pray for Your Church throughout the world…..that You would grant to all people       the peace and comfort of Your mercy and forgiveness in Jesus.        Lord, send faithful pastors, evangelists, and missionaries      into the harvest fields of the world.        Put Your Word in their hearts, minds, and mouths      and keep them faithful in proclaiming both the Law to expose sin      and the Gospel of pardon and peace in Christ Jesus.       Also, bless our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod       in all our endeavors for the glory of Your name,      that we might remain fully faithful to You in all we believe, teach, and do.


P   We pray for our own congregation – Grace Lutheran Church – that You would grant us unity of faith and purpose, as well as Spiritual growth through Your Word and Sacraments, so that we might become more mature in our faith, more eager to serve You with all that we are and have, and that we might boldly declare Your goodness and mercy     in all that we do     and to all people we meet.


C  We seek Your blessings, Lord,       for our nation,      for our President,       for our  Governor,       for all lawmakers and judges,       for our teachers and schools every-where,        and for all law enforcement and other government personnel,       that You would grant them health, safety, and integrity         so that they may serve this land according to Your will,       allowing us as a people to lead quiet and peaceable lives.


P:  We also pray for all those in the armed forces of our nation wherever they might be serving.    O God, our Great Defender, protect these servants of peace, grant them courage and honor in conflict, bring a quick end to these hostilities, and bring them safely home to their loved ones and friends.


C  For all children, we ask, O Lord,      that You would grant them loving parents and families      to protect them from harm,     to provide for their bodily and Spiritual needs,      and to bring them up in the training and instruction of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


P   For all who are troubled, sick, injured, or dying, Heavenly Father we pray that, according to Your will, and for our Savior’s sake, You would mercifully grant them comfort in their distress,   relief from their afflictions,    physical healing whenever possible,    and the strength of faith to accept      whatever You assign to them and us in life,     confident that Your direction of our lives is always best.


C  Lord God, comfort all who mourn the loss of loved ones        with the blessed hope of eternal life with those they love who have fallen asleep in the faith.         Keep all of us faithful to You to the point death       and give us, according to Your good pleasure,      the crown of life which Christ our Savior has guaranteed us       through His redeeming and reconciling work.


P   Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.   In His name we offer this prayer and continue now by praying…….

Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name;   Thy kingdom come;  Thy will be done    on earth as it is in heaven;    Give us this day our daily bread;    And forgive us our trespasses,    as we forgive those who trespass against us;     And lead us not into temptation;     But deliver us from evil;  For Thine is the kingdom,  and the power,  and the glory,   forever and ever.  Amen.


We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


The Benediction


     The Lord bless you and keep you.

     The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

     The Lord look with favor upon you, and give you His peace.   Amen.



The Closing Hymn                                                                                                                           Hymn 391

                                                                                                        “God Loved The World So That He Gave”


Silent Prayer


Post-Service Music                                                                                                                                              



+ + + Thank You + + +


For being a part of our worshiping assembly this morning. We invite you to join those around you for some good conversation and fellowship at the conclusion of today’s announcements.  We also invite you to join us for coffee, juice, and other refreshments in our gymnasium/fellowship hall. Finally, we encourage you to remain afterwards with us for further growth in God’s Word through our Bible Class and Sunday School Classes. May the comfort of God’s love and His forgiveness through Jesus Christ be with you throughout this day and this week.




Last Week at Grace                                         Worship Attendance: 69    Online views: 15           Sunday Bible Class: 29     (Online views 7)         Sunday School: 3      

Tuesday Bible Study: 12        Budgetary Offerings: $1139       Online: $419.27           Benevolence: $25


This Week’s Birthdays                              June 26 – Chris Roberts;     June 26 – Evan Taylor;    June 28 – Joyce Skogen


Serving Us Next Sunday (7-2)                       Elders: Rick Tragasz, Steve Stone                                 Ushers:   Chris Roberts, Fred Cusanelli     

Fellowship:   Debbie and Pastor Huebner                  Altar Guild:   Tina Wambold, Harriet Johnson


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Today                                                                                                       Morning Worship, 9:30 a.m.                                               Fellowship Period, 10:40 p.m.                     Bible Class and Sunday School, 11:05 a.m.       

Tuesday         Morning Bible Class,   10:30-11:30 am

Saturday        Outreach Calls, 10 a.m.

Sunday           Morning Worship with the Lord’s Supper, 9:30 a.m.          Fellowship Period, 10:45 a.m.  Bible Class and Sunday School – 11:05 a.m.           

From Clay Jars to Tents, to Our Home in Heaven

through Faith in Christ’s Reconciling Work for All

2 Corinthians 5:1-6:2

From verse 7 of chapter 4 through the end of chapter 5, Paul writes about a matter of life and death.   The Gospel message that the Apostle and his colleagues proclaimed stood out in sharp contrast to the message of those Paul identified as “false apostles,” who were attempting to win over the hearts, minds and souls of the Corinthians to their “gospel.”    In this portion of 2 Corinthians he establishes the fact that true apostles (and ambassadors for Christ) are willing to suffer and die for the sake of Christ and His Gospel.   They are willing to die because they know, through the Gospel, that they have the certain hope of eternal life in heaven after death, through faith in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ – particularly His sinless life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection for us.

Going back in chapter 4, verse 7, Paul began by comparing himself and his fellow-laborers to disposable clay jars.  Yet, inside of them was a precious “treasure” – the Gospel…..the glory of God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (see 4:6-7).   When these fragile “clay pots” were shattered by opposition and persecution, the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was “broadcast” to the world.  Those early Christians were letting their “light” (faith) “shine” for others to see and through which to be Spiritually influenced (Matthew 5:13-16).   This “shattering” (persecution) shouldn’t be something surprising for any Christian.  It is, after all, the common lot in life of everyone who lives out his our her life of faith in the death and the resurrection of Christ.    Routinely Paul and his associates experienced in their bodies the sufferings and “death” of Christ (see Colossians 1:24), so that redeeming life and death of Christ could also be displayed through them.  (4:10).  The “death” Paul and others were experiencing produced “life” for the Corinthian believers (4:12).  And so, difficult as their trials and tribulations were, Paul and his companions were not discouraged or afraid, because they knew that their earthly afflictions were “light” and “momentary” when compared to the glory that was certain to be theirs in heaven (4:16-18).

Now, in chapter 5, Paul continues to address the matter of “dying” for Christ and of “being made alive” in Christ.   He also writes in verses 14-21 about the doctrine of justification, from an “objective” point of view: namely, that Christ died for the sins of the entire world, and then closes the chapter with a “missions” emphasis by reminding his readers that he (and they) were called to be Spiritual “ambassadors,” presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world for which He died and rose.   There’s certainly a lot of application for us in the last half of this chapter, including in verses 16-18, which have often been misunderstood and even misapplied.   There Paul is emphasizing the life of faith and love that the “new man” (believer) lives following his/her conversion – a life that no longer focuses on human differences and distinctions, but regards all believers as equally redeemed and valued in Christ. 

5:1       “the tent that is our earthly home” – Paul’s referring here to our physical bodies.   As a tent is a temporary

                        dwelling, and is fairly flimsy, even so our bodies are weak and wasting away.’‘

“a building from God, an eternal home in heaven” – A building is solid and permanent, compared to a tent.  Our home in heaven is a gift from God, and is certain and secure for us and all who believe.

            “not built by human hands” – your salvation and mine is God’s work alone.   Moreover, our home in heaven

                        will be absolutely perfect….beyond anything we can ask for or imagine.  (Ephesians 3:20-21)

5:2       “we groan” – we are uncomfortable – even miserable – while waiting for the perfect Spiritual body which

                        God will give us in the resurrection (I Corinthians 15:42-49)

            “clothed” – covered, like our clothing covers us – in the perfection of heaven.

5:3       “naked” – without a body….the state of those whose earthly tent has been taken down through death.  

                        (2 Timothy 4:6b)

5:4       “burdened” – knowing that eternal life is ahead for us, life here in a sinful world can be burdensome.

            “so that the mortal may be swallowed up by life” – referring to our eventual participation in the resurrection

                        on the Last Day.

5:5       “the One Who prepared us for this” – God is the One Who elected us for heaven in eternity (Ephesians 1:3-6)

                        and called us to saving faith in time, via the Holy Spirit’s converting work.

            “gave us the Spirit as a down payment” – The Holy Spirit’s presence in us (His indwelling) is the guarantee

                        that we are God’s believing children and heaven’s heirs.  (Ephesians 1:14)

5:6       “Therefore” – because of what God has done for us, we want to live for Him.

            “confident” – also translated “of good courage”….Paul was unafraid and not intimidated.  Rather, he was

 bold no matter what the circumstances in which he ministered, or the audience to which he ministered.

            “at home…..away” – Paul and his associates…and we…continue to live for the time being here in our earthly


5:7       “by faith, not by sight” – See Hebrews 11:1.   Faith isn’t based on provable or observable facts (the absence of

                        which are a stumbling block for many people)

5:8       “prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” – see Philippians 1:23.   Isn’t this, when push

                        comes to shove, every Christian’s desire while living in this evil world?

5:9       “for this reason” – knowing with confidence that heaven is ours, freely, for Jesus’ sake.

“our goal [is] to please Him” – not in order to earn heaven, but out of gratitude for God’s saving grace.   (Romans 12:1)

            “whether at home or away” – whether someone is physically alive, or his/her body is dead, on the Last Day.

5:10      “we must all appear”  – see John 5:28;   Matthew 25:31-32.   There is going to be ONE Judgment Day.

“the judgment seat of Christ” – Jesus will return to judge everyone on the Last Day.  (Acts 17:31;   2 Tim 4:1;  2 Peter 3:10)

“so that each one may receive what is due for what he did” – This sounds a lot like salvation by works….IF this was the only statement in Scripture on that subject.   It isn’t, however.   This activity has nothing to do with our justification…other than that the works we have done as Christians will furnish the evidence of our faith – as well as the evidence of others unbelief.   (Romans 2:5, 16)

5:11      “fear of the Lord” – being fearful of the One to Whom everyone is accountable, and Who possesses the

                        power to damn sinners to hell.  (see Matthew 10:28)

“trying to persuade people” – Paul wants to persuade the Corinthians that he is an authentic apostle of the true Gospel.   The “false apostles, “ on the other hand, are not the Corinthians’ friends – but instead are their spiritual foes and a grave danger to their souls.

            “We are well known to God” – God knows everything about us, from our wants and needs to what is in our

                        hearts.   (see Matthew 10:30;   II Timothy 2:19;   Luke 16:15; and Psalm 94:11.)

5:12      “not commending ourselves to you again” – Paul had no intention of “arguing” the case before the

Corinthians regarding his faithfulness and apostolic office.   His actions spoke for him in bringing them the Gospel that had converted them from unbelief to faith.

            “an opportunity to boast about us” – Those Corinthians should have been grateful to God (and to a lesser

extent, to Paul) for having been brought to faith.   The Christian’s “boast” is always in God’s grace to him/her.

            “outward appearance” – The “false apostles” were superficial…..all show and no substance, Spiritually-

                        speaking.  Their concern wasn’t for the eternal souls of the Corinthians, but for their (the false

                        apostles’) power, popularity and personal wealth.

5:13      “if we were out of our minds” – Apparently Paul’s enemies were denigrating him by suggesting that He was

                        spiritually delusional…..perhaps tied to the dramatic conversion he claimed to have had.   (See I

                        Corinthians 1:14:9-13)

            “for God” – His conversion was for God’s glory as were Paul’s sufferings (so are ours!).   See Acts 9:15-16 and

                        I Corinthians 10:31.

“right minds” – Paul was sensible, sober-minded, and avoided sensationalism in presenting God’s Word to those he served.   


5:14      “love of Christ” – almost certainly this is a reference to Jesus’ life and death for us.   Some, however, believe

                        that this refers to our love for Christ…..which would be in response to His love for us.

            “One” – Christ, Who is God incarnate.

            “compels” – the driving influence in his ministry……what motivated Paul.

“died for all” – this is a foundational passage for the teaching of objective justification, which tells us that Christ died for the whole human race – from those who would believe in Him to those who don’t.   (John 3:16;   John 1:26;   Romans 3:22-24;   Romans 5:6-8;   I Tim 2:6;   John 2:2).   Our justification – objectively – occurred at the cross when Christ died for us all.  “Subjective justification” is the “flip-side” of objective justification.   Subjective justification occurs, in time, when God the Holy Spirit brings an individual to saving faith in Christ.   (Romans 3:24,28;   Romans 4:5; Luke 23:43; Ephesians 2:8-9)

5:15      “so that those who live would no longer live for themselves but for Him” – Matthew 5:14-16;   Romans 6:1-4

5:16      “As a result” – of our being justified by grace, through faith in Christ.

“we regard no one according to the flesh” – We don’t judge one another according to mere human standards like age, wisdom, wealth, education, accomplishments, and earthly status.   This was an on-going problem in Corinth (some thinking they were spiritually better than others), in large part due to the personality divisions that existed within the church.   Paul is saying that, in view of Christ’s righteousness applied to us, no one is better or worse than another.  We are all the same…redeemed.

“we knew Christ according to the flesh” – namely, Christ’s being fully human.  Prior to his conversion Paul regarded Jesus as just a human adversary….and not the Promised Messiah.   Many today also see Christ only as a great man….but not the God-Man and our Savior.

            “know” – the Greed word used for know here (“gnosko”) means to comprehend something intelligently.

5:17      “if anyone is in Christ” – that is, united through faith in Christ, with his/her fellow believers.

            “new creation” – Our redemption is the fulfillment of God’s promise to reconcile and restore fallen humanity

                        to Himself by granting us the perfection that we lost through Adam’s fall.   (Romans 8:18-23)

            “old” – our former unspiritual way of life.

“new” – through the Holy Spirit’s work in our conversion, we are “born again,” that is, we are no longer spiritually dead, but have been spiritually alive in Christ   (John 3:5,6;   Titus 3:5-7)

5:18      “all these things are from God” – the LORD graciously took all the initiative in working out our salvation

                        (Ephesians 2:8-9;   Romans 5:8;   John 3:16)

“and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” – God has entrusted to us (as stewards/caretakers) the Gospel ministry.  We have been chosen by God to be witnesses of Christ’s redeeming love to the world (Acts 1:8;   Matthew 28:20;   Mark 16:15-16).

5:19      “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” – When Christ died God’s holy judgment against sin

was completely satisfied (John 19:30).  It was paid for in full, the price being Christ’s holy, precious blood and His innocent suffering and death for us all.   With His anger against sin now appeased, God is at peace once more with sinful humanity.

5:20      “We are Christ’s ambassadors” – Paul was, and we are God’s spokesmen and spokeswomen.   How well do

                        you represent Christ?   (Matthew 5:13-16)

            “God is making His appeal through us” – The Gospel that we offer others has not originated with us, nor

can we adjust or adapt it as we see fit.   This message of salvation is God’s.  We are merely His mouthpieces.   AT the same time, He promises to bless the Word that we speak for Him (Matthew 10:19-20;   Luke 10:16;   Isaiah 55:11)

            “We urge you, on Christ’s behalf: BE RECONCILED” – this call to repentance is not optional.   There is no

other way to be saved than through faith in Christ.  (Acts 4:12;   John 14:6)   Without faith in Christ, there can be no reconciliation with God, but only eternal condemnation.

5:21      “who did not know sin to become sin for us” – This is a synopsis of the Gospel.  The perfect Christ took upon

Himself the obligation to the Law of God (Galatians 4:4) and kept it flawlessly in our place.   In addition, He embraced all of humanity’s sinfulness (Isaiah 53:6).   He endured from God the Father the punishment and eternal death that we deserve for our transgressions.   In so doing, Jesus exchanged our sinfulness for His righteousness, so that we are now regarded as holy in God’s sight…for Jesus’ sake.

6:1       “we also urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain” – in other words, don’t reject the Gospel of Christ,

either by outright rejection (persisting in unbelief), or by falling away after having been converted (Hebrews 6:4-6).

6:2       “Now is the day of salvation” – Using the words of Isaiah 49:8, Paul reminds his readers and us that every

day is a gift of God’s grace to us.  Don’t take your faith for granted, let alone become Spiritually lax or indifferent.   (Hebrews 2:3)   Also, don’t put off witnessing about Christ to others, urging them to repent and believe the Good News.    Souls are at stake today.   Today, after all, could be the day of death, or the Last Day for us and those we know and love.