2 Corinthians 10:18


Friday, 20 November 2015

For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends. 2 Corinthians 10:18

This chapter closes out with words that are alluded to throughout his writings and even throughout the Bible itself. He just said that “…he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” The reason for this is that it is “not he who commends himself” who is approved. One can glory in himself all day long and it doesn’t mean that the Lord has accepted him. In fact, it could be a good indication that He hasn’t.

Rather, Paul says that it is “whom the Lord commends.” In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul even gave an explicit example of this, showing that it is the Lord who will judge our works –

“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-15

Likewise, in 2 Corinthians 3, he shows that commending oneself is pointless. One’s works, as attested to by the Spirit, are what makes a person’s commendation knowable. As Christ is the judge of such things, whether they are truly Spirit-led or not, self-commendation is excluded –

“Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:1-3

Life application: In the book of Proverbs, we are given wise counsel concerning self-praise –

“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2

Instead of praising ourselves, let us walk in humility. Should we look for praise, let it be from the Lord. It is from Him that it truly matters.

Lord God, give us the desire to do Your work without looking for a pat on the back from others. And even more, keep us from self-commendation. We are not a very good standard by which to judge such things! Instead, help us to be content that the work we do for You will be rewarded with Your words of approval. May that wonderful anticipation be a sufficient reason for us to continue on for the sake of Your kingdom! Amen.


2 Corinthians 10:17


Thursday, 19 November 2015

But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 10:17

As the chapter prepares to close, Paul gives this verse. It is a citation which he draws from Jeremiah 9:23, 24 –

“Thus says the Lord:
‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,’ says the Lord.'”

It is to be in Christ alone where our boasting should lie. Whatever our accomplishments, they were possible only because of the Lord’s hand upon us. Therefore, no man should receive our boastings, including us as individuals:

1) Churches shouldn’t be divided based on allegiances to individual men, i.e. “I am of Paul” or “I am of Cephas,” etc.

2) Our intellectual attainments or knowledge of the Bible shouldn’t be credited to either self or to another, such as a great teacher, i.e. “I follow Aristotle,” or “I follow John Calvin,” or “I follow Albert Einstein,” or “I follow Billy Graham.”

3) There should be no desire to emulate the mighty, despite the power they possess.

4) Our goal shouldn’t be to seek after a wealthy person, a politician, or a movie star.

Rather than these things, or any other such division in our allegiance concerning our worldly abilities or spiritual life in Christ, we should direct our hearts, our souls, our minds, and our attention to what God has done in Him through us or to  us. In all ways and at all times, “…he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

Christ is the head of the church; Christ demonstrates and reveals to us the wisdom of God; in Christ are found the otherwise unsearchable riches of knowledge and understanding – both in creation and in Scripture; from Christ is all power and strength; and in Christ all the greatness and majesty of the Godhead is revealed to us. Surely then let us boast and glory in Him alone.

And as a final point, the citation from Jeremiah is speaking of the Lord, or Yehovah. However, Paul uses the citation and applies it to Jesus. The implication is clear – Yehovah of the Old Testament is Jesus in the New. Let us never attempt to diminish the glory of who Christ is. He is our God.

Life application: Be sure to never trade your allegiances for something less than what is the greatest of all. Jesus Christ is the epitome of perfection. In Him is all that is good and wonderful, and so let Him alone be your hope, desire, aspiration, and love.

Supreme and all-glorious God – You alone are worthy of our adoration and boasting. Give us a heart to follow after You and to use as our role model Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who reveals You to us. Thank You for the endless, ceaseless display of glory which You make known through Him as we walk in Your light and in Your holiness. Help us always to fix our eyes, hearts, and our thoughts on Jesus. And thank You for Your word which tells us of Him; Your superior word! Thank You, O God. Amen.




2 Corinthians 10:16


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

…to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. 2 Corinthians 10:16

The words, “…to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you” are given in connection to the words of the previous verse which said, “…as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere.” It is likely that Paul is saying that as the Corinthians grow in their faith, his ministry will benefit as it stretches out into other areas. There are a couple possibilities concerning what he means.

The first is that Paul will be less burdened in dealing with Corinth as they assume a greater role in the conduct of their own church. Or, it may be that Paul is hoping they will assist him in that ministry through prayer or some other means. These conditions though are based on their increased faith, something Paul is working on in his letter of instruction.

Even though he wasn’t present with them, his words would be valuable to them for right doctrine. And surely this is the case because even to this day those same words are being read by churches all around the world as a part of the Holy Bible.

In Paul’s preaching of the gospel in the regions beyond Corinth, he would be able to start new mission fields “and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment.” This is actually a continued response to the charge that he previously addressed. Verses 13 and 14 seem to imply that he was accused of over-extending his sphere of influence, which he refuted. In this verse he goes beyond that and shows that where he intends to go is certainly not in anyone else’s sphere of accomplishment.

Where he intended to travel is not totally certain, but it is likely that he is mentally referring to his comments in Romans 15:19-24. There he specifically mentions his desire to go first to Rome and then on to Spain.

Life application: It is so easy to take credit for things which we did not accomplish. Politicians are often caught lying about their past, claiming deeds they did not do. Pastors have been caught up in such things as well. Any of us can fall prey to this temptation, so let us always stand guard against it. Even if we haven’t done great things, we are still accepted by God because of Christ. If God has accepted us, then why should we worry about what mere men think of us!

Heavenly Father, help us to avoid the temptation of claiming things that we never accomplished. Politicians love to make up stories about their past which are untrue. Even Christian leaders have been caught in this. But You have accepted each of us who have received Christ, calling us Your children. If You have accepted us as we are, then why should we ever think we need to impress mere men? No way! Thank You for who I am, just as I am. Amen.



2 Corinthians 10:15


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

…not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 2 Corinthians 10:15

In just the previous verse, Paul noted that his sphere of influence extended to those in Corinth, even those who opposed him. Therefore, he cannot be charged with “boasting of things beyond measure.” Rather, it was those who exalted themselves that were following this exact path. As Paul had introduced the gospel there and established the church, then when someone made themselves the standard by which the churches’ affairs were to be evaluated, they stepped over Paul’s sphere of influence, not the other way around.

Continuing on, he notes that his sphere is not “in other men’s labors.” This was a principle tenet of Paul. He sought to establish churches where none existed. It is true that he met with churches established by others, but he did not extend his “sphere of influence” over them. It is one thing for a pastor to go to a different church while traveling and join in the fellowship, but it is another for him to walk into that church and ask for a seat behind the pulpit with the pastor of that church. He has no right to such a position because it is not within his sphere of influence.

In contrast to inappropriately extending his authority, he had rightly done so. As he says to them, “…having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere.” The verb here is present tense – “increases.” As the faith of those in Corinth increases, the fruits of his labors will also increase. In this, he is giving them a delicate rebuke that it is their lack of faith which is withholding the fruits of the labors he and his associates had sewn. They were as if stubborn seed, not willing to put forth the harvest of grain despite the many efforts that had been invested in them.

However, the present tense notes that their faith is increasing and as it continued to do so, it would begin to bear fruit. This is the hope of any good spiritual leader. Eventually, the students will be able to stand up and also begin the process of tilling the soil, sewing the grain, watering the land, and pulling up the weeds as they come forth. The cycle of spreading the gospel would continue in the Corinthians as their faith and knowledge increased.

Life application: Everything that we do should have attached to it the end goal of bringing the gospel to others until the entire church is built up to its completion. When that day comes, the Lord will call his people to be with Himself for all eternity. Let us never tire as we continue on with this marvelous work, began so long ago.

Lord God, You have been building Your church for over 2000 years, and You are working through Your people to make this happen. Help us to be obedient to our calling and to never tire as we continue on with sharing this message of hope, peace, and reconciliation which comes from You. Grant us hearts that are rightly set on rescuing souls from an otherwise very unhappy end. May You be glorified through our sharing of this eternity-changing message. Amen.


2 Corinthians 10:14


Monday, 16 November 2015

For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:14

Paul just noted that the sphere of influence which he and his fellow workers encompassed was one which God had appointed, and that sphere also included those at Corinth. Building on that, he says then that “we are not overextending ourselves.” He had not gone outside of his divinely appointed sphere of influence. Rather, he was perfectly within his rights to claim authority over Corinth. He had established the church and continued to instruct it and direct it.

He then gives a parenthetical thought, “…as though our authority did not extend to you.” For whatever reason, some intimated that their authority didn’t reach out and encompass Corinth. Maybe they heard another teacher who was more eloquent and thought, “This is our true leader.” Whatever prompted them to assume that they were outside of Paul’s authority, it was incorrect. To confirm this, Paul reminds them that “it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ.”

He and his associates were the first to preach the gospel to them; a message which they then received. Therefore, whoever came after them were actually intruders. It was inappropriate for someone else to come along and assume control of the congregation which was established by others. It was Paul’s right, established by God in the granting of his sphere of influence, to boast over them and to continue to direct them.

Life application: In this world people very quickly take credit for the good deeds of others, but are even quicker to put the blame for what is wrong on those same people. A very good example of this is the office of president. When a new president is elected, if he is a man lacking character, he will do just this. He will take the credit for what is sound and properly functioning, even if he had no part in it, and he will continue to blame his predecessor for every bad thing which occurs, even if it those things are completely his fault. Watch out for people like this and watch out for yourself as well. Don’t be like such losers. They are corrupt and their corruption is infectious.

Lord God, help us to be people of integrity who will give credit where credit is due and who will stand up and acknowledge our own failings without casting the blame on others. Help us to not follow the example of those who tend to do just this. Grant us the intestinal fortitude to act in a way which brings honor to You, both through our accomplishments and our failings. In this, You will certainly be pleased with us. Thank You for Your kind hand of grace upon us. Amen.