Thursday, 21 January 2016
Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:7
Paul has been discussing his need for discipline when he comes. And along with this discipline must come a demonstration of his apostolic powers. Before his arrival though, he asked them to examine themselves. His words of the last two verses said –
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.”
They are to conduct a self-evaluation to see if they are actually disqualified. Having said that to them, he now says, “Now I pray to God that you do no evil.” His correction through the use of his apostolic powers implies that they are doing wrong. However, he would rather have them do right and there not be a need for that power to be wielded. In its use, he and those with him would certainly “appear approved.” This word, approved, is set in contrast to the word “disqualified.”
If he appeared approved, it would settle all the matters concerning the charges of the false apostles levied against him, and it would be a real positive note concerning him, but he would rather simply have them do right and let the charges against him stand. As he says, “…that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified.”
To him, it would be preferable for the Corinthians to think whatever ill they wanted about him if they were living properly. It was of higher value to him that they were approved and doing what is right than it would be for him to have a good name and a seemingly perfect reputation. This type of humility towards those he loved is seen elsewhere in his epistles. A remarkable example is found in Romans 13 –
“For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,…” Romans 9:3
Life application: Are we willing to humble ourselves if it means that those who are weaker in the faith will be brought to a position of sound doctrine and right living? What value is our esteem in others’ eyes if they are not living right? Rather, wouldn’t it be better to be lowered in the eyes of those who are living for the Lord than to be esteemed by those who are not?
Lord God, this world is filled with a seemingly endless set of challenges ahead of us. We get past one and then comes another. And even if we handle them all well, we still have the biggest one of all ahead of us – our own demise. No matter what we do, we cannot get past that roadblock. It is the same end for the wealthy and the beggar, for the do-gooder and the wicked. But thanks be to God for the One who is there through the daily challenges, and who has also gone before us even in the greatest of them. Thanks be to God for Jesus our Lord who is the Breaker of all bonds! No fear here. Jesus has led the way! Amen.