Because Christís death is so important (1 Corinthians 1:18), Paul tried hard to explain it as clearly as possible. He wanted everyone to understand it (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).
Paul begins here with our weak state. We are all guilty of wrong and evil deeds (3:23), and the punishment is death (6:23). God has told us his perfect standards in his law, but we cannot live by those standards (7:13-24). So, our situation is truly desperate. God loves us - but we have made ourselves his enemies (5:8-10).
God chose the right time to act on our behalf (Galatians 4:4), and then he sent Christ into the world. Christ lived a perfect life among us - he alone obeyed God completely (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15). We would not accept him (John 1:9-11) and so men killed him on a cross, like a criminal.
However, Christís death was in Godís plan. Paul declares the great fact, which even this worldís rulers did not know (1 Corinthians 2:8): Christ died for us. His death was not for holy people or for people who deserved his kindness. Rather, Christ died for guilty people, for people who do not deserve his love (Matthew 9:12-13). He died to suffer our punishment (Isaiah 53:4-6); he died so that God can forgive us.
Paul has already explained what we must do. Like Abraham, we must believe God (4:20-23). We must not continue to allow our doubts and our evil behaviour to rule our lives. Now, we must begin to trust God, and we must allow him to change us completely (2 Corinthians 5:17).
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© 2017, Keith Simons.