2 Corinthians 5-9 Revised Standard Version

5 1  For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2  Here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3  so that by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4  For while we are still in this tent, we sigh with anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5  He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6  So we are always of good courage; we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7  for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8  We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9  So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11  Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men; but what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.

12  We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to be proud of us, so that you may be able to answer those who pride themselves on a man's position and not on his heart. 13  For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14  For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15  And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

16  From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. 17  Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. 18  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20  So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6 1  Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2  For he says, "At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation." Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3  We put no obstacle in any one's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4  but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5  beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger; 6  by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, 7  truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8  in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9  as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10  as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

11  Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. 12  You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. 13  In return--I speak as to children--widen your hearts also.

Ye Are the Temple of the Living God

14  Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15  What accord has Christ with Be'lial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16  What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17  Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, 18  and I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

7 1  Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God.

Paul's Joy at the Church's Repentance

2  Open your hearts to us; we have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3  I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4  I have great confidence in you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. With all our affliction, I am overjoyed.

5  For even when we came into Macedo'nia, our bodies had no rest but we were afflicted at every turn--fighting without and fear within. 6  But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7  and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. 8  For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it (though I did regret it), for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. 9  As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting; for you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10  For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death. 11  For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves guiltless in the matter.

12  So although I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong, nor on account of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your zeal for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13  Therefore we are comforted. And besides our own comfort we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his mind has been set at rest by you all. 14  For if I have expressed to him some pride in you, I was not put to shame; but just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting before Titus has proved true. 15  And his heart goes out all the more to you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, and the fear and trembling with which you received him. 16  I rejoice, because I have perfect confidence in you.

The Offering for the Saints

8 1  We want you to know, brethren, about the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedo'nia, 2  for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part. 3  For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, 4  begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints-- 5  and this, not as we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. 6  Accordingly we have urged Titus that as he had already made a beginning, he should also complete among you this gracious work.

7  Now as you excel in everything--in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us--see that you excel in this gracious work also. 8  I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10  And in this matter I give my advice: it is best for you now to complete what a year ago you began not only to do but to desire, 11  so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12  For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he has not. 13  I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, 14  but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality. 15  As it is written, "He who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack."

16  But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 17  For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. 18  With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel; 19  and not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work which we are carrying on, for the glory of the Lord and to show our good will. 20  We intend that no one should blame us about this liberal gift which we are administering, 21  for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of men. 22  And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you. 23  As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker in your service; and as for our brethren, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24  So give proof, before the churches, of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.

9 1  Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the offering for the saints, 2  for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedo'nia, saying that Acha'ia has been ready since last year; and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3  But I am sending the brethren so that our boasting about you may not prove vain in this case, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be; 4  lest if some Macedo'nians come with me and find that you are not ready, we be humiliated--to say nothing of you--for being so confident. 5  So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren to go on to you before me, and arrange in advance for this gift you have promised, so that it may be ready not as an exaction but as a willing gift.

6  The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7  Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8  And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. 9  As it is written, "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever." 10  He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11  You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God; 12  for the rendering of this service not only supplies the wants of the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God. 13  Under the test of this service, you will glorify God by your obedience in acknowledging the gospel of Christ, and by the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others; 14  while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15  Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

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