Monday, 29 June 2015
And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 2 Corinthians 3:4
Paul and those with him relied on the “epistle” which is the church itself to be the sure proof of their ministry. To him, it was enough to know that their ministry was in fact appointed by God and accepted by God. And this was despite their many failings and points of error in doctrine which he had addressed and which he will continue to address.
Because of this trust, there was no need for any other external proofs, such as letters of commendation. They alone as a body of believers were sufficient for the sure testimony of their hard work. And this sure trust is “through Christ.” In reading Paul’s many letters, it is apparent through and through that he never considered his own efforts to be what made the difference in the result of his labors. Instead, it was Christ working through him, directing him, and guiding him to obtain the much needed results of an effective “living epistle” which were the churches established and built up by his ministry. One example of many which Paul writes is found in Ephesians 4 –
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…” Ephesians 4:11, 12
It is Christ who gives “for the equipping of” the many various tasks of which the church is engaged. Finally, it is “through Christ toward God” that this occurs. The idea of “toward God” is that the surety that was felt was related to God. It was a confidence that their works were appointed by Him, established by Him, and conducted in them by Him. Further, it is implied that any continuance of their works in Christ would be toward God. Paul’s words are a marvelous reflection of his confidence that everything was of Him, by Him, and for Him.
Life application: Either a church is built on Christ (meaning the Christ of the Bible) and whose confidence is in God’s efforts in the conduct of the church, or it is not really a church at all. Far too many churches today bear the name of Christ, but they have no true trust in Christ toward God. In essence, they meet to “play church,” but there is no ultimate uniting with God in their meeting.
Heavenly Father, I know that there is one true church which is comprised of your faithful people. Among them, there are groups of people who meet to honor and exalt You and there are others who meet in utter disobedience to Your word. Keep me from any gathering that does not rely on the precepts of the Bible which reveal Your will for right conduct, holy living, and the glorifying of You. Lead my steps to gatherings that will place You above all else. Thank You for directing me according to Your wisdom. Amen.