The Favorable Time

From now until the celebration of Resurrection Day, throughout the season the Church calls Lent, we are taking a divergent path. We will be looking at the texts for the upcoming Sunday so we will be all over the Scriptures instead of focusing on one book. I think it is okay to throw things up in the air once in a while and see where they land. Blessings!

2 Corinthians 5:20–6:10
20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 6:1Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 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, yet possessing everything.

There are many for whom embracing the faith is something they might do – later. The drive to live as the flesh desires is so very attractive. “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” becomes permission to do whatever you want. (The actual verse says, “I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15 It does not refer to hedonism but rather contentment with what God has given you.) But in these verses from 2 Corinthians, Paul has a different outlook. Instead, he encourages us to embrace the ways of God today – right now. “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

We certainly have a propensity within this culture to want instant gratification. Waiting for something is simply no fun. But when it comes to the faith – well, maybe tomorrow. And as you know, tomorrow never comes. Waiting seems like a viable option because the ways of God might get in the way of what I want to do. I have a dear friend who was reticent to become a Christian because he was afraid God wouldn’t be happy with the way he spent his time or the activities in which he was involved. He believed he need to clean up his act before coming to God. Fortunately, he got over that fear and loves Jesus with his life today. But at the time, it was an obstacle for him.

In these verses to the Corinthians, Paul sets up a dichotomy of circumstances (and this is only half of them):

The Negative
The Positive
Holy Spirit
Genuine Love
Truthful Speech
Sleepless nights
Power of God
Weapons of Righteousness

Through every circumstance, the favorable time is now. Salvation is upon us in the loving arms of Jesus Christ. During Lent we take extra time to examine our lives and see how they match up with the Word of God. We allow the Spirit to convict and admonish lifestyle choices that are outside of God's good and gracious will. So, with that in mind we remember that the time is now to embrace what the Lord says to us for later may not arrive.There is no time like the present!