Saturday, 31 October 2015
…while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 2 Corinthians 9:13
This verse is widely translated and debated over. Charles Ellicott notes that its construction is that “of a participle which has no direct grammatical connection with what precedes.” It is a stand-alone thought. The words “through the proof of this ministry” are not clear concerning what is being referred to. Is it the service that is being provided or is it referring to the people who render the service?
Either way, the result is that the Jewish believers who will receive the gift will “glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ.” They will see that the message of Christ has led to the Gentiles faith in Christ. In turn, they will understand that the message didn’t just go into the ears and out again, but it sank down into their hearts, resulting in obedience to the teachings of the Lord.
This obedience is evidenced, as noted above, either in the gift which is made or in the willing hearts of those who gave the gift. In the end, they together form into a whole ministry which results in their “liberal sharing with them and all men.”
Paul is making it clear that what is being evidenced is a willingness to be obedient to the precepts that come along with receiving the gospel. Further, their status as Gentiles does not affect their ability to truly commune with the Jewish believers they are ministering to. Instead, “…there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him” (Romans 10:12).
Life application: Though there are many cultures on the earth with many different traditions and ways of worshipping the Lord, if they are Christians, they are a part of the body and on an equal footing with all others. It is unrealistic to think that our personal form of worship is the only way to honor the Lord. Instead, He has called people out from all places in order to worship Him in spirit and in truth. The externals are far less important than what is going on inside the heart.
Lord Jesus, from time to time I see different people worshipping You in ways or in settings that are completely unfamiliar to me. Instead of thinking that they are doing it wrongly, I rejoice that You have accepted them as they are. Their heritage, culture, and upbringing have made them who they are and You have accepted them in just that way. How marvelous it is to see the nations rejoice in You in a multitude of wonderful ways. I can’t wait for the day when we are all gathered together in Your presence to praise You as one, and yet just as we are! Amen.