Monday, 11 January 2016
Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification. 2 Corinthians 12:19
Paul begins this verse with “Again…” He is probably referring back to 2 Corinthians 5:12 which said –
“For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart.”
He is not making a defense for himself and those with him to the Corinthians as if he were trying to curry favor with them. Rather than such a thing, which would certainly be looked at as if done with improper motives, he affirms that “We speak before God in Christ.” This phase is an interesting clue as to the nature of the Trinity.
“Before God in Christ” means that he is acceptable to God and thus able to make his appeal before Him because he is “in Christ.” He lives within Christ, having received His finished work. There is a nearness to God because of this position. So much so that when he speaks, God is a witness to his words, judging them as to their sincerity. As this is so, then the Corinthians should view the words in the same light.
And those words are not words of currying favor. Instead, they are sincere and without hidden motive. They are simply the way things are. Instead of trying to ingratiate themselves to the Corinthians through inappropriate means, he says that “we do all things, beloved, for your edification.” The charges of the false apostles had attempted to show Paul as an opportunist and one who couldn’t be trusted. But instead of that, everything he did for those at Corinth was to build them up and to bring them to a state of sound doctrine and holy living.
There was no hint of impropriety in his actions, or in the actions of those whom he sent to minister to them. In all ways, their conduct was to be considered pure and with only the good of those at Corinth in mind.
Life application: Paul’s affirmation that his words were “before God in Christ” should be a sobering reminder to us that if we are “in Christ” then we are being looked at from that standard. Our words are to be pure, our actions are to be noble, and our hearts are to be undefiled by impure intent. We are representatives of God and should always consider that in our interactions with others.
Lord God, the Bible uses the term “in Christ” to designate the state of believers who have received the finished work of Jesus. We have moved from fallen Adam to our sinless Savior. Help us to remember this position and to live it out, repenting of our inappropriate actions, and bringing glory to You because of this most favored state. He died for us; help us to live rightly for Him. It is a difficult walk, but keep us on that straight and narrow path! Amen.