The Epistles of Paul - 2 Corinthians Part 6: Come Out from Among Them and be Separate
In these first 5 chapters of Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians we have seen a rather expansive explanation of Yahweh God's plan for mercy and reconciliation for the children of Israel. Among Paul's first topics were affliction and comfort, and we had seen the Old Testament prophecies of Israel's affliction and comfort in their punishment and chastisement as they were alienated from God. Paul then contrasted the Old Covenant service of death in letters to the New Covenant service of the spirit in Christ. The Old Covenant letter of the law demanded of men a punishment of death for sin, whether it was the death of a sacrificial victim or of the sinner himself, depending on the nature of the sin. But the New Covenant service of the spirit is one of mercy and forgiveness for sin, which also demand the recognition of sin and repentance. We then illustrated from the Old Testament those prophecies relating to the New Covenant, and in that manner we had seen how Paul was teaching the fulfillment of those prophecies in those same children of Israel. Paul had explained that rather than the death which they had merited in the flesh under the law, that by the mercy of God in Christ men have eternal life in the spirit in spite of their sin, and all men are urged to repent on account of the revelation of the greater purpose of God which was revealed in Christ.
In 2 Corinthians chapter 5 Paul had made the assertion that since Yahweh had not excluded any of the children of Israel from His plan for mercy, men should in turn have that same mercy upon their brethren, so long as they too are repentant and willing to abide in Christ. With this we examined many of the prophecies in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel which all foretold of the cleansing of the sins of the children of Israel, and the completeness of that cleansing as Paul had explained it here. Because Yahweh has forgiven all of the children of Israel of all of their sins, then Christians - who are properly the children of Israel reconciled to God in Christ - should forgive one another in like manner. Doing this, Paul had also asserted that in Christ new things have come, and he cited Isaiah 43:19 where Yahweh through the prophet had said in part, according to the King James Version: “Behold, I will do a new thing”. With this we examined at length that same section of Isaiah, which concerns the alienation and eventual reconciliation of the ancient children of Israel, and, in conjunction with other prophecies, what would happen to them during their period of alienation - how Yahweh God had prophesied that they would grow into an innumerable people and become many nations and how both the prophet and Paul himself also reveal that these were the European nations of later history to whom Paul had brought the Gospel. For that very reason, towards the end of 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and his explanation of these things concerning the covenants, sin and mercy, Paul called his ministry the ministry of reconciliation, and referred to the Gospel as the word of reconciliation.