1This reconciliation and salvation is not for some hypothetical future. To think that is so is to take it in vain. 2It is for now, it is here. “In an acceptable time have I heard thee, in a day of salvation have I helped thee” (Is. xlix. 8). What is that “acceptable time,” that “day” but the day which has now dawned on us? 3and if we are its servants and ministers, we must show it in our lives. 4If we are the servants of God, we shall abound in all good at all times, so that that service shall commend itself inevitably to all men. No amount of endurance, troubles, difficulties and dangers, 5yes, not even punishment, imprisonment, scourging, and riots of the people, no labour, no hunger, 6no watching shall weary us, but through it all we shall exhibit the signs of the Christ, that wondrous knowledge and holiness, patience and goodness, that love unfeigned which marks the presence of the Spirit, 7and of this word of truth with man, and the power of God which it manifests. We shall have always at our back and at our front, in left hand and right hand the weapons, shield and armour which God's perfection supplies; 8we shall be glorious, approved by man, and speakers of the truth, even whilst our opponents cry “scoundrels” and “deceivers”; 9in the midst of endless misconception, ignorance, and misunderstanding the world will accept us: 10life will be ours and joy, and abundant riches overflowing to the rest of mankind, that neither death nor poverty nor sore chastening can hide; for in the Christ we possess all things, because in the world we own — nothing!
Now, cast out all that obscures the ideal
11Something has opened my heart to you, Corinthians, 12-13and shown me yourselves and your destiny in a larger room, in a grand perspective — free from all the cavil and pettiness of the world's slander. Now do the same for me, my brethren. O grasp the secret of my purpose, the breadth of my career and vision; behold its vast import, and do not lay upon yourselves the cruel limitations of the world's misapprehension and deceit and slander. Away with all that! 14Have no further dealings with that spirit which possesses the world's idolaters; 15there can be no means of communication between Christ and Belial, devils and saints, light and darkness. 16Cast out all that obscures that fair, spacious and exalted temple of the living God, that building which you are! The workings of devilish influences and the power of idolatry have no room or footing here.
I will walk in their midst, says God,
I will dwell among them, (Lev. xxvi. 11-12)
I will be their God, they shall be my people.
17Therefore come out from the midst of them,
Be separate, saith the Lord, (Is. lii. 11)
Touch not the unclean thing.
And I will accept you, 18and will be to you a father,
And you shall be my sons and daughters,
Saith the Lord omnipotent. (II Sam. vii. 14)