Notes on the Daily Readings - September 1-5
SEPTEMBER 1 - 1 CORINTHIANS 15
There will be no need to write of the doctrine of the resurrection nor to show that it is the key to the fulfilment of the promises - of the covenants. We wish to write on two points in connection with it:
The nature of the raised body. There have been differences concerning this; some have said that it will be like the body of Adam before he sinned, and yet others that it will be already a changed immortalised body. If the former, then a change must have taken place before or at the resurrection, for the body entered into the grave a corrupt body which Adam's was not before he sinned. Paul says (v. 42) "it is sown in corruption".
But when he says (v. 42) it is "raised in incorruption", does not this indicate that a change to incorruption has taken place? If this were so, then why should those who are thus raised stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10) and moreover what of those who are alive when Christ returns and who certainly have bodies of corruption?
The change follows a process indicated in Christ himself who died, rose and revived (Rom. 14:9). This is the order to be followed by those who are subject to a resurrection. They are raised with a body like that they had before. Together with those who are alive, they stand in judgment to receive in body the things done in the body (2 Cor. 5:10). The righteous will be revived - He "shall also quicken your mortal bodies" (Rom. 8:11). The wicked will not be changed and therefore die "the second death".
SEPTEMBER 2 - 1 CORINTHIANS 16
Aquila and Priscilla
From incidental references one can trace somewhat of the life and character of Aquila and his wife Priscilla, for both Luke, in the Acts, and Paul in his epistle, mentions them. They were among the Jews who had been banished from Rome by Claudius, and one writer says the Jews were expelled because they often created disturbances because of "Chrestus". If this name (a common one) is the same as Christos, then the disturbances were amongst the Jews because of the teachings of the early Christians.
It would certainly seem that Aquila and Priscilla were already Christians, for Paul soon became known to them in Corinth, a meeting helped by the fact that they were tentmakers like Paul. They journeyed with him to Ephesus (Acts 18:19) and afterwards returned to Rome (Rom. 16:3). Both when at Ephesus and Rome the ecclesia met in their house. They were able even to instruct Apollos in "the way of God more perfectly" (Acts 18:26) and it is clear that they had risked even their lives for the sake of Paul (Rom. 16:4). And here Paul adds that "all the churches of the Gentiles owed thanks to them."
They must have been two great stalwarts among the early Christians, showing the virtues of hospitality, of ability to teach, of fortitude and courage and were "heirs together of the grace of life" (1 Peter 3:7).
Anathema Maranatha (v. 22)
There is really no need for a capital 'a', and the sentence should read: "Let him be anathema" (accursed). Maranatha is a separate expression and means "The Lord cometh".
SEPTEMBER 3 - 2 CORINTHIANS 1 & 2
All the promises are in him yea. By this the apostle means that all the promises made to the fathers as especially stated in the covenants of promise, receiving their affirmation or fulfilment, in Christ. As Paul says when writing of the promises to Abraham (Gal. 3), the seed promised was Christ, even as Peter said concerning the Davidic covenant, "God ... would raise up Christ to sit on his throne" (Acts 2:30). The word "Amen" in the same verse (2 Cor. 1:20) means "so be it" in the sense of fulfilment. James uses the same word at the beginning of a sentence where it is translated "Verily" and where it means "of a truth" or "truly", and is a call for the exercise of implicit belief in the words the he should speak.
2 Cor. 2:14-16.
This refers to a Roman triumph when the victorious general was accorded a triumphal procession through Rome - he being seated in a chariot behind which notable captives walked chained together. Incense was scattered as the procession proceeded and flowers were strewn before the chariot. This incense and sweet smell is the savour (or odour) of verses 15 and 16 - to the victor an odour of joy and life, to the captives an odour of death.
Verse 17 - "Corrupt the word"
An allusion to the dishonest vintners, who diluted the wine with water. Paul therefore declares that he was not afraid to speak the whole counsel of God whether it offended or not.
SEPTEMBER 4 - 2 CORINTHIANS 3 & 4
The Two Ministrations
Paul had shown that the law of Moses - even though a ministration of death (because it could not give life) - was glorious, yet not so glorious as the faith which is in Christ Jesus, but many of the Jews of his day rejected Christ and to demonstrate their error Paul quotes the incident of Moses and the veil (Exodus 34:29-35).
When Moses came down from the Mount with the two tables of stone, his face shone so that the children of Israel could not look upon him, he therefore put a veil over his face. Paul in this chapter shows that this was a highly figurative action. Paul writes (v. 13) that Moses put a veil over his face "that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished", or, "that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendour", as it could be rendered. By Moses placing the veil over his face, the Israelites did not see the glory fade, the reason being that they were under the Law and had to keep it. But when Christ came and fulfilled the Law, the time had come for it to fade, but many Jews refused to recognise this and contended that a keeping of the Law was necessary for salvation. In this way the veil was still upon their hearts.
By contrast the apostle likens the knowledge and understanding of the "new testament" (or new covenant) as a beholding with "open face" (v. 18) the glory therein revealed; the glory of the risen Christ - to which glory he trusted that he, together with all true believers, should be changed, when he "shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body" (Phil. 3:21).
SEPTEMBER 5 - 2 CORINTHIANS 5,6,7
"Present with the Lord" (5:8)
Peter says that Paul wrote "things hard to be understood" which may easily be misunderstood. (2 Peter 3:16). Misunderstanding often comes when a sentence or verse is taken out of its context or when other passages of scripture are not brought to bear upon it.
"Absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" is often quoted to support the doctrine of immortal soulism. But the setting of this saying shows that Paul taught something quite different. He says (5:10) that we must be judged and as a result of this be rewarded "in body". The reward in body which Paul desired was to be "clothed upon with our house which is from heaven" (v. 2) - to be clothed upon "that mortality might be swallowed up of life" (v. 4).
However, he had already taught the Corinthians that this change would be when Christ comes (1 Cor. 15:23), so that being "present with the Lord" must wait until the second coming. Nevertheless, he desired earnestly for the time to come when this body wherein he groaned being burdened (v. 4) should be changed, for then he would be present with Christ. For this he laboured so that he might be accepted (v. 9).
"God was in Christ" (5:19)
This is often taken from its context to support the doctrine of the trinity. But if God were actually in Christ how was it possible for Christ to say, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" or for it to be said that "he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared"? (Heb. 5:7). There are two persons here, and one (the Son of God) wholly dependent upon the other.
It therefore means that God was working in and through Christ so that the world might be reconciled to Him. ("Made to be sin for us" will be dealt with when writing on Galatians 3
This word often means "change of mind", but sometimes another word is used (also translated repentance) which really means "without carefulness", that is, without "limit or meanness". When Paul wrote (Rom. 11:29) that "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" the second word is used, and in v. 10 of ch. 7 both words are used, so that the verse should read, "For godly sorrow worketh a change of mind to a salvation - without limit".