Wednesday after the Ninth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18 (NKJV)
1 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s. 8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed—9 lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”
11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present. 12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. 17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
Paul has received word that some of the saints at Corinth are not pleased with his words of exhortation. Paul responds that his words are applicable whether he is present or absent because they are the authoritative Word of God, and not his own. Rather than debate what Paul is speaking/writing as to whether it is the will of God or not, they attack his person claiming, “his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”
This happens quite often when anyone stands up for the truth of God’s Word as authoritative. Rather than searching scripture to determine truth concerning the will of God, the person relying on God’s Word alone becomes a target for animosity with claims of being uncaring, uncompassionate, or unloving.
Paul gives us the perfect humble response for someone relying on God’s Word for their authority: “For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment.”
Our purpose for relying on the authority of God’s Word is not just to prove someone wrong, but only so others might grow in grace, faith, and knowledge of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, so they too might see the importance of the words, “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”