By Bishop Paul Butler
The Chronicler’s concern for the Temple and the worshipping life of God’s people shines through very clearly in these three chapters. Hezekiah is applauded for all that he does in re-instating the Temple and ensuring that the worshipping life of God’s people is once again brought back into line with the Law.
Whilst we are the people of the new Temple, Jesus himself, the commitment to worship being central to our common life; the concern that it is truly celebratory and worthy of the God who is loving and gracious to us is a clear challenge from this part of Israel’s history. In their worship the people recognised that generosity in giving was a central aspect of how they worshipped; indeed so much is given that they have to create new storage space – how many church treasurers would love to have a similar ‘problem’ today. Here the people of God were experiencing the plentiful redemption and forgiveness that the Lord offers us all.
But such redemption and freedom from our iniquity has to lead to holy worship and holy living. Somehow the Corinthians had fallen foul of the twisted thinking that the liberty Christ brings allows libertarianism in lifestyle. Specifically an incestuous relationship, which Paul notes even unbelievers saw as immoral. Paul is stern in his rebuke. He is clear that the lifestyle of Christ’s people is to be holy and distinctive. Not the holiness that cuts us off from the world, but the holiness that does mark us out as distinctive. Indeed Paul encourages the Corinthians to be engaged with all kinds of people so that Christ’s redeeming love might be known.
How generous is our giving as part of our worship?
How might the exercise of church discipline be exercised wisely today?
Good Lord, pardon all who set their hearts to seek you. We praise you that with you there is forgiveness and plentiful redemption through Christ our Passover Lamb, sacrificed for us. Amen.
Bishop Paul Butler is Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham in England