Monday, 4 January 2016
Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. 2 Corinthians 12:12
Paul just said, “…in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing.” Following up with that, he immediately says that, “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you.” First, he is indicating that in contrast to the false apostles, he carried with him the signs of a true apostle. A “sign” (Greek sémeion) is something which points to something else.
Jesus gave signs which pointed to the truth that He is the Messiah. The apostles were granted to give signs to prove that they were, in fact, commissioned by the Lord. These are the outward witnesses of this fact. But more importantly than being just signs, they are the “signs of an apostle.” Being an apostle carried certain conditions; the most important one was being personally commissioned by the Lord.
What is implied in the term “signs of an apostle” is that these signs belong to a select group of people and they are no longer given because there are no apostles today. Therefore, the things which supposedly confirm apostleship today are false. God has validated the work of the church and His word speaks of it. We are to have faith in His word and not in supposed eternals which are falsely given by those who have no apostolic authority.
In the signs that were given, Paul says they were “accomplished among you with all perseverance.” There is a decisive tone in the word “accomplished.” These signs were fully wrought, thus attesting to the surety of the commission. Despite all of the difficulties the apostles faced, despite their privations, despite those who came against them and attacked them continuously, they still worked the signs of their apostleship, validating the words that followed.
Today, those who claim to do signs don’t do it under hardship. Instead, they do them with a money basket being passed in front of them. They then get into a limo or a Lear jet and take off to milk another congregation full of suckers.
But the true signs of an apostle were “in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.” Again, the signs pointed to something else. They were validations of their commission. The “wonders” or teras, were those things we might call “miracles.” They were so obviously of heavenly origin that no man could claim that the power to accomplish the miracles was from derived from the apostles, but it was rather from the Lord.
The “mighty deeds” or dunamis, are those things which testified to the power of the Source from which they were derived. It is a miracle, or teras, that a man is healed, but the healing is also a “mighty deed” or dunamis because of the Source of the miracle. It is the effective working of God’s power through the apostle.
Life application: If we have faith in Jesus to save us from our sins, then we should ask, “Where did I hear of Jesus in order to have faith?” The answer is, “From the Bible.” If we believed the message about Jesus, then why should we not accept the rest of the Bible which gives us the full word of God? If we don’t believe that the apostles had the power to work miracles, then why should we believe that Jesus can save? Either the Bible is true in its entirety, or it is a false book. And if we believe the testimony of the Apostle’s signs, then why would we need other signs today? The Bible itself is to be our sign. Read your Bible and have faith that it is God’s word.
Lord God, what sense does it make to believe that Jesus is able to save us, but then to not believe the rest of the Bible? It is the Bible which tells us about Jesus. If other parts of it aren’t true, then how can we know that the part about Jesus saving isn’t also false? No! It is all or nothing. And the fact is that Jesus does save! And so help us to trust that Your word is true in its entirety and then to hold fast to it for our life and doctrine. Amen.