Week 38 is scheduled for study Sept. 11-17, 2023. This week’s lesson doesn’t exactly say this, but all the lessons teach us that happiness comes through Christ.

Day 1

As you study Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, write down some of the gospel principles you discover and ponder how you can apply them in your life.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7; 4:6-10, 17-18; 7:4-7 – My trials can be a blessing.

In all the verses for today’s lesson, these verses mean the most to me.

3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

I have had to read these verses over and over again many times. The more I read them the more sense they make to me. I think verse 3 is the only place in the scriptures where our Father in Heaven is referred to as “the God of all comfort.” This is a profound name. Verse 4 tells us that it is when we recognize the many ways in which He sends us comfort that we are able to turn around and give comfort to others. That caused me to ask the question, “In what ways does God give me comfort that teaches me how to comfort others?” I usually think of comfort as something physical, like a warm blanket when someone is cold, or a hot meal when someone is hungry. This verse made me stop and consider further.

Trials cause us to look outside of ourselves and our own wants. They make us see that life doesn’t center on what we want. That lesson can appear to be rather cold and uncaring, but physical, social, emotional, and even spiritual trials can teach us wisdom we didn’t know was there before. If we seek to learn from our trials, we see life differently when they have passed. Once they have passed, our trials can cause us to feel empathy for those who are experiencing them for the first time. These often help us to feel pity, where we might have been indifferent in the same situation before.

The trials we face open our minds to possibilities, especially the spiritual ones. When the Spirit shows us the love of God, our hearts are filled with gratitude, solace, peace, and love. When we experience God’s freely given forgiveness for our sins, we begin to see why it is so important that we also offer others forgiveness for their trespasses against us.

The more I have thought about what I learn from God in the course of my own trials in life, the more puzzled I have become about how my experiences with the Lord might affect my experiences with my neighbor and loved ones. Over all I believe that what I learn and experience from God softens my heart, making me more kind, more generous, more desirous to help others in need, and to be more tolerant of people’s oddities, knowing that God has looked past my own peculiarities and still offered me mercy and generosity.

The lesson we see played out in Paul’s writings demonstrate over and over again that he who was willing to kill those who believed in Jesus, now is willing to give up his own life for those same people. After experiencing the mercy and grace God offers us, Paul now wants to spend his life offering the same to everyone he meets. Paul’s life truly does demonstrate that he believes what he says when he calls God “the God of all comfort.”

Day 2

As you study Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, write down some of the gospel principles you discover and ponder how you can apply them in your life.

2 Corinthians 2:5-11 – Forgiveness is a blessing I can both give and receive.

Don’t you just love that expression Paul ends these verses with? He is talking about the importance of freely forgiving anyone who has trespassed against us.

11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Forgiveness is the tool of Christ. Satan doesn’t forgive, nor does he teach anyone to do so, for forgiveness is what the Savior, and God, our Father are all about. Satan does everything in his power to make sure we don’t give or receive forgiveness, for when we forgive and are forgiven we are embraced by another and become more united. This defeats what Satan is trying to accomplish, for he wants us to be divided and to fight against each other. Division is his device.

We should always be aware that the feelings of justification or indignation we feel when someone insults us, hurts us, or when they take advantage of us, are from Satan, not God. Jesus is the great exemplar as the one who was without sin, yet paid for all our sins anyway. He did not deserve to suffer for what we do wrong, yet he is willing to not only pay the eternal price for our sins, but offer us the chance to be forgiven for those sins and find everlasting happiness. This is why forgiveness is not offered to us if we are not willing to forgive others. Our willingness to forgive others is the price we pay to be forgiven ourselves. We need to remember that Jesus paid for our aggressor’s sins as well. He is the judge of all, not us. Our responsibility is to leave all judgment up to Jesus, for God has made him judge of all.

When we forgive another we actually bless our self, because we release the burden of hurt and resentment we were carrying.

Day 3

As you study Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, write down some of the gospel principles you discover and ponder how you can apply them in your life.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 – Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I can be reconciled to God.

I recommend that you read today’s verses then write your own interpretation of what Paul says. Here is my own rendition of Paul’s words. It might be a good learning experience to compare our two interpretations.

Since Christ died for all of us, we no longer have any right to live for ourselves, since someone else has already lived and died to save our soul. We used to live after the ways of the flesh, but since coming to know Jesus and what he did for us, we should no longer follow after the desires of the flesh. On verse 16 be sure to read the JST version of that verse. He makes a lot more sense than the KJV.

Once we come unto Christ, God doesn’t hold us accountable for our sins, since Christ paid for those sins. We are already reconciled to God and the demands of His laws, because of the payment Jesus made for us. We no longer need to fear God for the sins we have committed, for those debts have been cleared by Jesus. Jesus has reconciled us with God. This is why Paul refers to the gospel Jesus teaches as the ministry of reconciliation.

As the ambassador of Christ, Paul commands us, in the name of the King, to be reconciled to Christ. Through his suffering and eternal payment for our sins, Jesus now has the rights of judgment and the disposition of our souls. It is to him we must seek for forgiveness from our sins and trespasses. Jesus has bought our souls from eternal punishment, and now his servants are commanding us, in his name, to be reconciled to Christ by seeking forgiveness from him for our sins. It is through our relationship with Christ that God can see us once again as righteous.

Paul’s point here is that we cannot be reconciled with God, unless we accept Christ’s reconciliation with God he made for us. Christ’s reconciliation is the only way to bridge the gap our sins have created between our Father and ourselves.

Day 4

As you study Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, write down some of the gospel principles you discover and ponder how you can apply them in your life.

2 Corinthians 7:8-11 – Godly sorrow leads to repentance.

Paul said something in his earlier letter to the Corinthian Saints that caused them to feel sorrowful. But he is not sad that he caused them temporary suffering, because they sorrowed unto repentance. This means that their sorrow caused them to seek to be further reconciled with Christ. This kind of suffering or sorrowing leads to a change for the better in our lives.

If you look in the Book of Mormon in the book of Mormon, where Mormon is describing the behavior that got his nation obliterated, he describes how the Nephites sorrowed for the effects of their choices in life, but they were willing to curse God and die rather than give up their sins. They were miserable, yet so stubborn that they would die rather than seek to be released from their pain. This is the difference between worldly sorrow and Godly sorrow. Godly sorrow always leads to repentance and an effort to have the pain taken away through righteous changes. Worldly sorrow is stubborn and unyielding, insisting that it is their right to do as they please and still find happiness in it, even though they have long lost the ability to find joy in their sin. That is the nature of persistent sin. The joy we initially find in committing the sin quickly evaporates, yet the behavior continues, leaving us to wallow in our misery, not understanding why we can no longer be happy.

FHE/Personal Study

2 Corinthians 3:1-3 – Recommendation

In mortality a person is often accepted for employment or into companionship by a recommendation written by someone who is respected and trusted. This comes in the form of a letter, resume, or CV. In gospel-related matters, we are trying to get those outside of our religion to accept Christ, but who do we know that they can trust to use as a reference so they will accept him? It is the members of the Church who act as the letter of reference for the Lord. The righteousness of their lives, the happiness they have discovered by living the gospel, and the cleanliness of their lives is what acts as a letter of reference to those in the world for a reason to try to follow Christ themselves.

You’ll notice that Paul refers, more than once, to our testimonies being written on the fleshy tablets of our hearts. This means that God’s ways are indelibly written into the very fabric of our lives and how we live them. That is the testimony people see and read without even thinking about it. This is what sways them when decisions must be made to embrace or reject the missionaries when they come to their home. The people look back and think about their interactions with those who have already claimed to have accepted Jesus as God’s Son. Yes, our example does make a big difference, even when we aren’t aware of it.

2 Corinthians 5:6-7 – Faith

Verses 6-7 actually are built on the premises made starting in verse 1 of this chapter. Paul teaches that our spirits were made by God, and that as long as we live in mortality we are living away from God, our Father. When we lived as spirits we could see God, but now we can only see what is in mortality, so the things of God must be seen only with the eye of faith. Over and over again in his writings Paul emphasizes the importance of looking to the future with the eye of faith. We must learn to believe what we cannot currently see, for it is in the future, after this life that all our greatest blessings will be realized. We do all that we do for the future blessings of exaltation and joy.

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NT38-2023 – Be Ye Reconciled to God