II Corinthians 3:1-5
What amount of focus and importance should we, as God’s children, place on the opinions and expectations of others?
Should we not praise God and seek to bring glory to His name through sharing our testimonies because it may be misconstrued by a critic? Does this danger outweigh the benefit of sharing God’s goodness in our lives?
We find Paul once again having to address some specific statements made by folks at the Church of Corinth. He begins with a rhetorical question, “Do we begin again to commend ourselves?”As if to sarcastically say, “Are we not living up to your standards?” Or need we, as some others, commendation of you, or letters of commendation from you? The only approval that Paul and his team were in search of was God’s. The approval we should be concerned about is God’s! If we are approved of God, no one else will have legitimate concern. When we have acted in a way that is pleasing to God any criticism we face will be based on opinion that contradicts the Scriptures. Far too often, man’s approval is a motivating factor to change something that does NOT need changing for the praise and acceptance of MEN! Some will go to a church and conform to the customs, dress, and even the practices of the people there, but if it’s not for God it will generally be a temporary adjustment rather than a permanent improvement.
“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:” Here, Paul indicates, though folks wished to criticize them as they continued in the work they were doing when they reached them; the fact that their faith had been placed in Christ is testament to the sincerity of Paul’s faith and ministry. The obvious changes made in these folks testified to the tremendous power of God and the truth of Paul’s message. I believe that the basis for the criticism from these folks was not for Paul doing things wrong, but rather, DIFFERENT! Like many today the people in the Church of Corinth wanted to be like other churches and ministries, pleasing peers before God! Paul and his team loved these folks!
They were his “spiritual children”. He was not angry with them. He recognized their spiritual ignorance and felt obliged to give instruction. Here is a reminder of the fact that when we claim Christ’s name, a certain amount of attention accompanies it, and we will be either respected or reviled based on our dedication to Him. “Ministered by us” they were saved and disciple by Paul and his team. These believers were walking, talking, living, and breathing evidence of God’s power!
The only reason Paul could speak with confidence about the ministry or the future or write Scripture was because of the power of the Holy Spirit working in him, through him, and for him. The same reason we have the assurance that we are going to Heaven. The only reason we have the confidence that we can overcome every trial, problem, obstacle, or ever person is HIS SUFFICIENCY! HE ALWAYS PROVIDES US WITH THE SUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF WHAT WE NEED!
II Corinthians 3:1-5:
Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;