Tuesday, 10 November 2015
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— 2 Corinthians 10:8
Paul uses the word for “boast” 36 times in his letters, but 20 of them are in 2 Corinthians. It appears that he almost has an insecurity complex which has built up in him concerning his dealings with the Corinthians and he is working through that by the use of this word.
It is as if they questioned his authority when he was the one who established the church among them. Time and time again, he returns to this word to show that that he and the other apostles do have the authority necessary to conduct themselves as the Lord’s representatives.
Again, he turns to the idea of boasting – “For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority.” In the previous verse he wanted them to consider his and his associates’ position “in Christ.” Now, he brings in not just that they are “in Christ” but that they have “authority” within the body to exercise discipline, establish doctrine, etc. In 1 Corinthians 5, he directed the church to take certain actions concerning a person who was engaged in sexual immorality. It wasn’t a request, but rather a directive.
Elsewhere he writes of both commands and exhortations. And the reason for this is that the authority is that “which the Lord gave us.” It was granted by the Head of the church and therefore the church was to understand this. But in a gentle note, he relays that the authority is “for edification and not for your destruction.”
What is obvious is that if the Lord is building a church, He will assign people to positions of authority to build it up, not destroy it. If a person starts a company, his goal is to make it successful. He wouldn’t hire someone to tear apart the company, but to direct it so that it will grow and flourish. Anything less would be contrary to the end-goal of the company. The same is true with the church.
Because of this, in his boasting, Paul says, “I shall not be ashamed.” If he has been granted authority, and if he uses that authority to edify – just as would be expected – then he would have a right to boast in the authority he possessed. And this wouldn’t be a haughty, self-directed boasting, but one which was in satisfaction for having proved faithful to the One who established him in the position in the first place.
Life application: In our walk with Christ, we all have opportunities to lead. Every Christian has the chance, for example, to lead someone else to Christ. That is an authority which has been granted to any saved believer. If we use that authority, then is it wrong to boast in it? The answer is, “No.” If it is proper boasting, then it is acceptable. Later in this chapter, Paul will show us that when we glory, it should be in the Lord. If our boasting is directed to Him, then it cannot be wrong.
Heavenly Father, it is amazing that any believer who has the simple knowledge of who Jesus is can lead another person to that same saving knowledge. And yet, how often do we fail to simply open our mouths and speak? The one path to heaven’s riches isn’t spoken of by us for fear of failure, or maybe giving offense. Why should we care about these things? Help us to put our duty to You into practice and to be willing to tell others of the great message of salvation which came through Calvary’s cross. Amen.