1We know that the earthly tent we live in will be destroyed. But we have a building made by God. It is a house in heaven that lasts forever. Human hands did not build it.2During our time on earth we groan. We long to put on our house in heaven as if it were clothing.3Then we will not be naked.4While we live in this tent of ours, we groan under our heavy load. We don't want to be naked. We want to be dressed with our house in heaven. What must die will be swallowed up by life.5God has made us for that very purpose. He has given us the Holy Spirit as a down payment. The Spirit makes us sure of what is still to come.6So here is what we can always be certain about. As long as we are at home in our bodies, we are away from the Lord.7We live by believing, not by seeing.8We are certain about that. We would rather be away from our bodies and at home with the Lord.9So we try our best to please him. We want to please him whether we are at home in our bodies or away from them.10We must all stand in front of Christ to be judged. Each one of us will be judged for the good things and the bad things we do while we are in our bodies. Then each of us will receive what we are supposed to get.11We know what it means to have respect for the Lord. So we try to help other people to understand it. What we are is plain to God. I hope it is also plain to your way of thinking.12We are not trying to make an appeal to you again. But we are giving you a chance to take pride in us. Then you can answer those who take pride in how people look rather than in what is really in their hearts.13Are we out of our minds? That is because we want to serve God. Does what we say make sense? That is because we want to serve you.14Christ's love controls us. We are sure that one person died for everyone. And so everyone died.15Christ died for everyone. He died so that those who live should not live for themselves anymore. They should live for Christ. He died for them and was raised again.16So from now on we don't look at anyone the way the world does. At one time we looked at Christ in that way. But we don't anymore.17Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!18It is all from God. He brought us back to himself through Christ's death on the cross. And he has given us the task of bringing others back to him through Christ.19God was bringing the world back to himself through Christ. He did not hold people's sins against them. God has trusted us with the message that people may be brought back to him.20So we are Christ's official messengers. It is as if God were making his appeal through us. Here is what Christ wants us to beg you to do. Come back to God!21Christ didn't have any sin. But God made him become sin for us. So we can be made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.
1We work together with God. So we are asking you not to receive God's grace and then do nothing with it.2He says, "When I showed you my favor, I heard you. On the day I saved you, I helped you." (Isaiah 49:8) I tell you, now is the time God shows his favor. Now is the day he saves.3We don't put anything in anyone's way. So no one can find fault with our work for God.4Instead, we make it clear that we serve God in every way. We serve him by holding steady. We stand firm in all kinds of trouble, hard times and suffering.5We don't give up when we are beaten or put in prison. When people stir up trouble in the streets, we continue to serve God. We work hard for him. We go without sleep and food.6We remain pure. We understand completely what it means to serve God. We are patient and kind. We serve him in the power of the Holy Spirit. We serve him with true love.7We speak the truth. We serve in the power of God. We hold the weapons of godliness in the right hand and in the left.8We serve God in times of glory and shame. We serve him whether the news about us is bad or good. We are true to our calling. But people treat us as if we were pretenders.9We are known, but people treat us as if we were unknown. We are dying, but we continue to live. We are beaten, but we are not killed.10We are sad, but we are always full of joy. We are poor, but we make many people rich. We have nothing, but we own everything.11Believers at Corinth, we have spoken freely to you. We have opened our hearts wide to you.12We are not holding back our love from you. But you are holding back your love from us.13I speak to you as if you were my children. It is only fair that you open your hearts wide to us also.14Do not be joined to unbelievers. What do right and wrong have in common? Can light and darkness be friends?15How can Christ and Satan agree? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?16How can the temple of the true God and the statues of other gods agree? We are the temple of the living God. God has said, "I will live with them. I will walk among them. I will be their God. And they will be my people."(Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27)17"So come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch anything that is not pure and clean. Then I will receive you." (Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 20:34,41)18"I will be your Father. You will be my sons and daughters,says the Lord who rules over all." (2 Samuel 7:14; 7:8)
1Dear friends, we have these promises from God. So let us make ourselves pure from everything that pollutes our bodies and spirits. Let us be completely holy. We want to honor God.2Make room for us in your hearts. We haven't done anything wrong to anyone. We haven't caused anyone to sin. We haven't taken advantage of anyone.3I don't say this to judge you. I have told you before that you have an important place in our hearts. We would live or die with you.4I have great faith in you. I am very proud of you. I am very happy. Even with all our troubles, my joy has no limit.5When I came to Macedonia, my body wasn't able to rest. I was attacked no matter where I went. I had battles on the outside and fears on the inside.6But God comforts those who are sad. He comforted me when Titus came.7I was comforted not only when he came but also by the comfort you had given him. He told me how much you longed for me. He told me about your deep sadness and concern for me. That made my joy greater than ever.8Even if my letter made you sad, I'm not sorry I sent it. At first I was sorry. I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while.9Now I am happy. I'm not happy because you were made sad. I'm happy because your sadness led you to turn away from your sins. You became sad just as God wanted you to. So you were not hurt in any way by us.10Godly sadness causes us to turn away from our sins and be saved. And we are certainly not sorry about that! But worldly sadness brings death.11Look at what that godly sadness has produced in you. You are working hard to clear yourselves. You are angry and alarmed. You are longing to see me. You are concerned. You are ready to make sure that the right thing is done. In every way you have proved that you are not guilty in that matter.12So even though I wrote to you, it wasn't because of the one who did the wrong. It wasn't because of the one who was hurt. Instead, I wrote you so that in the sight of God you could see for yourselves how faithful you are to us.13All of that cheers us up. We were also very glad to see how happy Titus was. You have all renewed his spirit.14I had bragged about you to him. And you have not let me down. Everything we said to you was true. In the same way, our bragging about you to Titus has also turned out to be true.15His love for you is even greater when he remembers that you all obeyed his teaching. You received him with fear and trembling.16I am glad I can have complete faith in you.
1Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given to the churches in Macedonia.2They have suffered a great deal. But their joy was more than full. Even though they were very poor, they gave very freely.3I give witness that they gave as much as they could. In fact, they gave even more than they could. Completely on their own,4they begged us for the chance to share in serving God's people in that way.5They did more than we expected. First they gave themselves to the Lord. Then they gave themselves to us in keeping with what God wanted.6Titus had already started collecting money from you. So we asked him to get you to finish making your kind gift.7You do well in everything else. You do well in faith and in speaking. You do well in knowledge and in complete commitment. And you do well in your love for us. So make sure that you also do well in the grace of giving to others.8I am not commanding you to do it. But I want to put you to the test. I want to find out if you really love God. I want to compare your love with that of others.9You know the grace shown by our Lord Jesus Christ. Even though he was rich, he became poor to help you. Because he became poor, you can become rich.10Here is my advice about what is best for you in that matter. Last year you were the first to give. You were also the first to want to give.11So finish the work. Then your longing to do it will be matched by your finishing it. Give on the basis of what you have.12Do you really want to give? Then the gift is received in keeping with what you have, not with what you don't have.13We don't want others to have it easy at your expense. We want things to be equal.14Right now you have plenty in order to take care of what they need. Then they will have plenty to take care of what you need. That will make things equal.15It is written, "Those who gathered a lot didn't have too much. And those who gathered a little had enough."(Exodus 16:18)16God put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. I am thankful to God for this.17Titus welcomed our appeal. He is also excited about coming to you. It was his own idea.18Along with Titus, we are sending another brother. All the churches praise him for his service in telling the good news.19He was also chosen by the churches to go with us as we bring the offering. We are in charge of it. We want to honor the Lord himself. We want to show how ready we are to help.20We want to keep anyone from blaming us for how we take care of that large gift.21We are trying hard to do what is right in the Lord's eyes and in the eyes of people.22We are also sending another one of our brothers with them. He has often proved to us in many ways that he is very committed. He is now even more committed because he has great faith in you.23Titus is my helper. He and I work together among you. Our brothers are messengers from the churches. They honor Christ.24So show them that you really love them. Show them why we are proud of you. Then the churches can see it.
1I don't need to write to you about giving to God's people.2I know how much you want to help. I have been bragging about it to the people in Macedonia. I have been telling them that since last year you who live in Achaia were ready to give. You are so excited that it has stirred up most of them to take action.3But I am sending the brothers. Then our bragging about you in this matter will have a good reason. You will be ready, just as I said you would be.4Suppose people from Macedonia come with me and find out that you are not prepared. Then we, as well as you, would be ashamed of being so certain.5So I thought I should try to get the brothers to visit you ahead of time. They will finish the plans for the large gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a gift that is freely given. It will not be given by force.6Here is something to remember. The one who plants only a little will gather only a little. And the one who plants a lot will gather a lot.7You should each give what you have decided in your heart to give. You shouldn't give if you don't want to. You shouldn't give because you are forced to. God loves a cheerful giver.8And God is able to shower all kinds of blessings on you. In all things and at all times you will have everything you need. You will do more and more good works.9It is written, "They have spread their gifts around to poor people. Their good works continue forever." (Psalm 112:9)10God supplies seed to the planter. He supplies bread for food. God will also supply and increase the amount of your seed. He will increase the results of your good works.11You will be made rich in every way. Then you can always give freely. We will take your many gifts to the people who need them. And they will give thanks to God.12Your gifts meet the needs of God's people. And that's not all. Your gifts also cause many people to thank God.13You have shown yourselves to be worthy by what you have given. So people will praise God because you obey him. That proves that you really believe the good news about Christ. They will also praise God because you share freely with them and with everyone else.14Their hearts will be filled with longing for you when they pray for you. God has given you grace that is better than anything.15Let us give thanks to God for his gift. It is so great that no one can tell how wonderful it really is!