Living by Faith, Not by Sight
1For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in, is dismantled, we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens. 2For in this earthly house we groan, because we desire to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3if indeed, after we have put on our heavenly house, we will not be found naked. 4For we groan while we are in this tent, since we are weighed down, because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. 6Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth we are absent from the Lord – 7for we live by faith, not by sight. 8Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So then whether we are alive or away, we make it our ambition to please him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil.
The Message of Reconciliation
11Therefore, because we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people, but we are well known to God, and I hope we are well known to your consciences too. 12We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to be proud of us, so that you may be able to answer those who take pride in outward appearance and not in what is in the heart. 13For if we are out of our minds, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died. 15And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. 16So then from now on we acknowledge no one from an outward human point of view. Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, now we do not know him in that way any longer. 17So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come! 18And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” 21God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.