Life-Study of 2 Corinthiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we pointed out that 2 Corinthians 3 is a chapter on doctrine and that 2 Corinthians 4 is a chapter on experience. Furthermore, we saw that what Paul speaks of in chapter four is a confirmation from his experience of what he says concerning the ministry in chapter three. For each of the major points regarding the ministry in chapter three, there is a corresponding point in chapter four. Thus, life corresponds to the Spirit, renewing to transformation, and the weight of glory to the degrees of glory. But what corresponds to righteousness in 2 Corinthians 3? In order to answer this question properly, we need to say a further word about righteousness.
Righteousness refers to a condition, a state, where everything is in good order. Where there is righteousness, there is no disturbance, confusion, or mixture. For example, in a church meeting we often can see righteousness, for in the meeting everything is right and in good order. As a result, the meeting is in a condition, a state, of righteousness. But suppose the brothers are arguing, the sisters are upset, and the children are running around the meeting hall. What turmoil there would be! In that kind of a situation, a condition of turmoil, there would not be any righteousness. Righteousness refers to a state where everything is in good order.
Second Peter 3:13 says, “Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” The righteousness dwelling in the new heaven and the new earth indicates that everything will be in proper order, that nothing will be wrong, upset, or in turmoil. Instead of turmoil and confusion, there will be peace and order. In the sight of God, such a state is righteousness. The entire condition in the new heavens and the new earth will be righteousness. Nothing will be disorderly; rather, everything will be in good order. This orderly condition is a condition of righteousness.
In 4:8 Paul speaks of being afflicted in every way, or of being attacked from every side. But no matter how much he was afflicted or attacked, with him there was no turmoil. Instead, there was the manifestation of life. This manifestation of life produced a condition of peace and calm.
Suppose you are troubled on every side by your husband or wife, by your children, and by your in-laws. Nevertheless, instead of being disturbed or in turmoil, you manifest life. This means that life comes out of you in that situation. As a result, your condition will be one of peace and order. In spite of the trouble that comes to you from every side, you remain in such an orderly and peaceful condition. The processed Spirit, the “cooked” Spirit, within you experienced as life calms down the whole situation. This is righteousness.
In 4:8 and 9 Paul speaks of being afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and cast down. We would expect such a situation to result in turmoil. But if you find yourself in that kind of situation and yet everything becomes calm and orderly, that is the manifestation of life. Furthermore, that orderly state is a state of righteousness.
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