Our current study is based in 2 Corinthians 2-4. To understand why and how we got here, we need to review a little. As a matter of fact, we need to review often, because it is one of the Biblical means of Bible Study. We need this continual review, because we forget so quickly, it keeps our perspective sharp and review keeps us heading in the proper direction.

This particular segment of our study was started as a result of attempting to see what the Bible says about how we can allow the light of God’s glory to shine through our conduct. This Light of God’s glory, that is to shine in our conduct, is the same light that shown in the face or countenance of Jesus while He was on earth.

By further study of the immediate context of this statement, we see that this light of the glory of God was the very essence or image of God, and in particular, the aspect of His essence we call holiness. At salvation, every Believer receives the Life of God, and that certainly involves God’s essence.

We received this essence of God by means of the Holy Spirit, Who indwells every Believer. The Holy Spirit is one with the Godhead in essence. Therefore, in and through the Holy Spirit, this "light of the glory of God" has been placed within the life of every Believer. As we look at the total context of the Scriptures, we see that God the Father and God the Son are, also, within each Believer. Therefore, each Believer has within them this light, and our command is to allow that light to shine out through us to the world around us.

As Believers, we are to "work out our own salvation". We are not to work for our salvation, nor work out a plan that’s sufficient to produce salvation, but we are to work to the outside, that personal possession we received as a gift from God and is now within.

Philippians 2:12-14 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmuring and disputing,

We must understand that the Holy Spirit, through Paul, is addressing Believers in Philippians 2:12-14. These addressed in this passage already have salvation, and God is working within them to do His good pleasure. Therefore, simple logic demands that the passage is not referring to receiving salvation or being Redeemed. These, addressed in Philippians 2 were Believers, who were in a state of willing obedience.

Therefore, Paul encourages them to continue in that obedience and allow what God is doing on the inside, to be demonstrated on the outside, through their lifestyle. Paul goes on in this Epistle to give instructions concerning how to bring to the surface that which is deep within.

Philippians 3:8-15 But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

Just so we don’t forget our launching pad for this segment of our study, let’s refresh our thinking by looking again at.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

Before we continue with the theme of allowing this light of the glory of God to shine through our earthen vessels, that is our human bodies and lives, let’s review a little of what this glory of God is.

Romans 3:20-26 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22 even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

This is a review, so we will not attempt to plunge to the depths of this passage, but the truths here could take a lifetime to fully study. Allow me to point out a few things from this passage that will give us some understanding of what’s involved in this glory of God, and how that glory was placed within the life of every Believer.

This glory of God is, in fact, God’s righteousness, or His essence. This glory has been illustrated in and by the Law, and we know from Scripture, that the Law was only a shadow or a fuzzy image of the real glory of God. All the goodness of mankind combined cannot come close to that glory. As a matter of fact, all humans have fallen short of that glory.

fall short (Greek)
to be last (as in a race); come far behind; to be destitute; inferior; to come late.

All of mankind is destitute of this glory. When it comes to the race for glory, all of mankind is dead last! We use the term depraved to describe this condition of mankind. By the use of this term, it indicates that mankind does not have any divine glory. Not a spark of glory. Not the least little glimmer. As a matter of fact, mankind is the exact opposite of the glory of God.

That is the native condition of mankind, but God demonstrates His righteousness or glory by two means, mentioned in our passage before us. One is found in Romans 3:25. This righteousness or glory of God was demonstrated in and through Christ, and He became our propitiation through His shed blood. God wants to demonstrate this glory, Romans 3:26, at the present time, through those who have been justified through this propitiation of Christ’s blood.

Isn’t it interesting how many times, and in so many different ways God says this same thing, over and over again? I wonder, if maybe, God knows how slow we Believers are to hear and obey?

God wants this light of the glory of God, that was in the person of Christ, to be seen in the life of every Believer. You can’t miss this truth, if you’re looking for it. You can’t miss this truth even if you’re not looking for it. If you simply read the New Testament, at all, you will see this truth over and over again.

The Holy Spirit approaches this subject from every conceivable angle, so that even we knuckleheaded Believers can’t miss it. Let’s review:

The divine Trinity is made up of three Personalities all equal in quality, and all one in essence. These three Personalities of the Godhead are: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. These are descriptive titles or names of the Godhead as to their relationship in the plan of redemption.

These Three make up the one God of the Trinity. Do I understand the Trinity? Not on you life! If I could fully comprehend the complexity of God, either God would not be God, or I would not be human. The reality of my God is far beyond the comprehension of any finite human mind. Therefore, we must believe it by faith.

The make up, or essence of God is His glory. I have listed some, and only some of the essence of God. These finite human terms fall short of describing the essence or God’s glory. No one of these descriptive terms, by itself, is the essence of God. Collectively, these descriptive terms, plus many more give us a verbal picture of God’s glory.

As we see from the record of the Bible, any human, who has been privileged to see even a small portion of God’s glory, found the human language totally inadequate to properly describe what they saw. For our study, we will usually limit our description of God’s glory or essence to these few terms:

eternal Life


Each of these Three, Who make up the Godhead or Trinity, are one in essence or glory. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit all have the same essence. Each of These have a different role in the redemption program of mankind and creation.

In the ages past, when this one God said, "Let us make man in our Own image", that did not mean Adam was a little god! Instead, Adam was created in a shadow image of God. God, Himself, is not material or physical, God is spirit. Mankind, who is a spirit or soul encased in a physical Body, was made in the shadow image of God’s essence.

God gave the soul of mankind characteristics similar to some of His Own divine essence. Those characteristics, given by God, were not the same as His essence, but a shadow image of His essence. Therefore, mankind, fresh from the creative hand of God, could and did demonstrate the glory of God.

The soul of mankind has:


nature (human or sin)

These terms are not intended as a comprehensive description of the soul of mankind, but only some of the major attributes of mankind that are described or referred to in the Word of God.

We know the story well. The only thing the first man had to do, in order to demonstrate the glory of God, was to obey God’s command. That first human had only one thing he could do that would not demonstrate God’s glory. In the beginning, man did not need to do anything, from his own strength or ability to live a holy life, and thereby demonstrate God’s glory. The very spirit or soul of mankind was created in the image of God’s glory.

However, there was one thing man could do from his own strength and ability that would destroy any possibility of living in holiness or displaying the glory of God. That one thing was to act according to his own volition in opposition to God’s command, or we call it disobedience, God also calls it disobedience or sin. Mankind felt that they knew what was better for their existence than God, and acted in opposition to God’s command, and the will of God.

Through that act of disobedience, they died spiritually or they willingly cut themselves off from the only source of spiritual life and strength. By that act, they were not only deprived of spiritual life, they became mortals. A mortal is one who is in the process of dying or corrupting, which is the description of all mankind.

Mankind, by their own choice, became the exact opposite of all that God was. They became depraved of any spiritual qualities or abilities. Sin had separated mankind from their only spiritual source. Mankind died Spiritually and began to degenerate both physically and morally.

God Mankind
holy unholy
divine depraved
infinite finite
spiritual temporal
righteous unrighteous
eternal life mortal

Mankind made themselves as different from God as is possible to be. Mankind became, and is dead spiritually. Mankind can’t see, think or act in any spiritual manner. Mankind has no power or ability to make themselves anything but humans or mortals, who are moving farther and father away from the glory of God. All of mankind has finished last in the spiritual race, and has fallen short of the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins
Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Romans 3:10-12 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one."
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Proverbs 21:2-4 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. 3 To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. 4 A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin.

I don’t think we need any more evidence of the totally depraved condition of mankind, as the result of that act of disobedience.

I hope we don’t focus so much on Adam’s actions, that we miss the fact that the disobedience of Adam was sin that required the redemptive sacrifice of Christ for its payment, and likewise, our acts of disobedience are equally sinful and require the application of that redemptive sacrifice of Christ.

Anything mankind does is sin, no matter how humanly good it might be. Anything mankind does "falls short of the glory of God". But "God so loved the world that He gave" and He gave. and He gave. and He keeps on giving. If He didn’t, you and I would be in a real mess!

Because of God’s character and His willingness to give of Himself, as the payment of sin in order to satisfy His Own righteousness, justice, and holiness, it is possible for a depraved human to once again have spiritual life. In the Old Testament, God promised this provision over and over again. In the New Testament, God shows his provision over and over again.

Isaiah 55:2-3 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. 3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you-- the sure mercies of David.

This everlasting covenant was first given to Adam and then established with Abraham through the line of David. The fulfillment of that covenant was through the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ came to earth, paid the penalty for all sin through His death on the cross Through His resurrection has provided spiritual life to all who will receive Christ as their personal Savior.

When you, by faith, plus nothing, receive Christ as your Savior, God in all of His essence and glory indwells your being on a permanent basis. Wherever you go, whatever you think or say, however you act the Holy Spirit is forced to be a part of that activity. Receiving Christ and this new spiritual life must be by faith, because you are dead spiritually and have no power in yourself to bring about such a transaction. If you are here today, and you’re relying on your good life for an eternal life with God, you are a fool! We have already seen that the very best you can do is like filthy rags compared to the perfectly spotless radiantly white garment of God’s righteousness needed for eternity with God.

If you are relying on your good family name, your good deeds, or even your great knowledge of the Bible, you can forget heaven! The demons know the Bible well. So well, that they tremble at the facts in it, but they will never gain heaven because of that knowledge. Eternity with God can only be yours, if you have received Christ as your Savior.

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

You may have been in church all your life, but if you have never personally recognized yourself as a lost depraved sinner, and have not reached out by faith to receive Christ as your personal Savior, you are headed straight for an eternity in the Lake of Fire with the Devil and his angels! Not to an eternity with God and His angels.

My friend, I don’t know what else I can say to convince you of your need of the Savior, Jesus Christ, Who is God’s only provision. But if you have never personally received Christ as your Savior, then I beg of you, don’t put it off any longer. Receive Christ right now! If you don’t know for sure how to receive Christ, then please see me after the service.

You may have been in church all your life. You may have taught a Sunday School class. You may have been busy about the work of the church. You may have even told others about Jesus as the Savior of the world. But if you have not personally received Christ as your Savior, you are lost, and still in your sins.

My friend, hang your pride out to dry! If you should die before this service is over, and you are not sure where your soul would be one minute after your breathed your last, please make sure before you leave this place!

Let’s take a time of quietness, so if you need to do business with God, you can and will have the time and atmosphere to do so.

That was a quick look at this glory of God, the need of humans for this glory and God’s provision so humans can have this glory. As a Believer, we must remember that just because we have received Christ as Savior, and we have the indwelling of God’s glory by means of the Holy Spirit, that does not automatically mean that God’s glory will be seen in our conduct.

Unless, we by our volition chose to live by the Spirit, and by our mentality and emotions we kill the deeds of the flesh, we will continue to live by the old human (sin) nature, and the works of the flesh will be manifested through the windows of our soul: By our:

Romans 6:11-13 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

If we are not living unto and by Christ, we are living unto and by our sinful flesh. That parallels the truth we’ve looked at in past sessions. We learned that we either assemble together to stir other Believers to love and good works, or we will be stirring to bitterness and anger. Please notice, there must be definite actions of your will, purpose and activities if you are to know this spiritual living Paul is talking about from Romans 5 through the end of this epistle of Romans.

Romans 6:18-19 And having been set free from sin (that’s salvation), you became slaves of righteousness [This is the Christian life]. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

As Believers, we have been set free! We’ve been given liberty! Be careful when you talk about your liberty in Christ! Some claim their liberty in Christ as an excuse to live a life of worldliness, or bitterness, or vindictiveness, etc. Your liberty in Christ never gave you the right to sin! If you claim liberty in Christ as your right to sin, you are living falsely, and against the teaching of the Word of God. If you are encouraging other to use their liberty in Christ for loose living, you are teaching false doctrine, and the judgment of God against false teaching is your portion. Notice in this passage, the Holy Spirit through Paul says, you’ve been set free to be a slave. A slave of righteousness, not free to live worldly. Christian liberty never gives a Believer the right to live in unrighteousness! We haven’t studied the Believer’s liberty in Christ, as yet. But when we do, we will find it is a liberty from the bondage of sin, so we can live in holiness.

Romans 8:5-8 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

The Christian life must be lived by faith, just as surely as we received that life by faith. Faith is the obedience to God and His Word without reservation. The Holy Spirit tells us in Romans 8:5, if we live according to the flesh then we will set our minds on the things of the flesh. That is why He told us, early in this epistle, to kill the works of the flesh. However, on the other hand, if we live according to the Spirit. Then we will set our minds on the things of the Spirit. It looks like our actions, and the way we do things does make a great deal of difference in this spiritual living. If your works (living v.5) have caused you to set your mind on the things of the flesh, then:

Yes, it is important how we act. If you have a problem with that, take it up with God. God is the one that authored these truths. I know. When I bring you face to face with things of such import, you would like to clobber me. I’m sorry. I’m just the messenger, trying to do my job. So, if you have a complaint, take it up with my Boss.

1 Peter 1:15-16 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

The scripture is clear, in that it commands us to be holy, and the Scripture is equally clear in its statements that mankind is incapable of being holy. We have reviewed a little of the why mankind can’t be holy through their own efforts. We have also seen in our review, that God has provided a means by which a person can have the holiness of God in their life by receiving Christ as Savior and being indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

God tells us how we can have this holiness, that’s within us, translated into our conduct. We have looked at some of the things we need to do in order to allow this to be a reality, and we will look at more to come.

2 Peter 1:3-4 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

We just saw in Romans 8:5-9, that the way we live will affect our mind-set. We have learned from Romans 12 and other passages, that our mind-set must be proper before our actions can demonstrate the holiness of Christ.

In 2 Peter 1, we see that God has provided all we need for life and godliness through His Word. As we use that Word of God properly, we partake of, or assimilate His divine nature in our life. Thereby escaping the corruption of the world through lust. Someday we need to study that last phrase of 1 Peter 1:4. We don’t have to be physically involved in the things of the world to be corrupted by them. All we have to do is long or lust for them.

1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

The Holy Spirit, through John, tells us that our hope must be in the coming of Christ. We must not try to find fulfillment in the temporary things of this world. When we have the proper hope and eternal focus, we will purify ourselves, just as Christ is pure or holy.

All of these and many more passages show how we can become purified to be like Christ in holiness. But in all of these passages, God places the responsibility on the Believer to act or think in a certain manner. When the Believer responds in an appropriate manner, according to the Word of God,

then the Believer begins to smell like Christ
instead of smelling like Satan and the world.
2 Corinthians 2:13-17 I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia. 14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death to death, and to the other the aroma of life to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

How has your life been this week? Did your kids, and/or your spouse, and/or your friends, etc. smell the fragrance of Christ in you speech and actions? Please, don’t give me, or delude yourself with that ‘ol worn out excuse that Satan used on the first couple in the Garden. Satan ask, way back in the beginning, "Did God really mean what He said?"

That first couple listen to the philosophy of world as given by Satan, and said something like,

"You know, we must adapt what God said to our present day circumstances. What God said was appropriate for the days of creation, but times have changed, you know! After all, God gave us liberty and domination over all of creation, and that Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is part of that creation. God surely never intended, by His command, to limit our pleasure. God wants us to know life to it’s fullest! Therefore, because of our liberty in Jehovah, we have a right to eat that which God said we should not eat of. I’m sure God would not want us to restrict our activities. Why! That would be legalism!"

No, I don’t have the text of the thoughts and reasoning of those first two. But their nature is stamped upon every descendant from that time to this day, and that is pretty much the way we go about it. You know what they say, "The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree".

If you are throwing up that smoke screen of the liberty in Christ
as your excuse for not living in holiness in your conduct,
Don’t waste your time! That one has already been tried.,
and it didn't work!

But that action did make Adam and Eve afraid to meet God when He came to the Garden. Listen, my Christian friend. Christ is coming back again, and it could be soon. What a shame, if that glorious time should arrive, and you, too, would find yourself afraid to meet Him!

1 Peter 1:15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
© Clyde White, Austin TX, 1998