Paul Defends His Authority
Now I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ—though I realize you think I am timid in person and bold only when I write from far away. 2 Well, I am begging you now so that when I come I won’t have to be bold with those who think we act from human motives.
3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
“For nothing is more opposed to the spiritual wisdom of God than the wisdom of the flesh, and nothing more opposed to His grace than man’s natural ability.”
5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
Christ counts evil thoughts as traitors not only to us, but also to Him. Like the psalmist, you may say, “I hate vain thought, not only because of the curse they bring to my heart, but for the grief they give to my King.” Their intrusion is forbidden by the double barrier of our own choice and the keeping power of Jesus.
Let the peace of God keep the door of your heart and mind, scrutinizing each intruder and turning back the unfit. Let the Holy Spirit bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
Let the faithful Savior have the keeping of the soul entrusted to Him. He is well able to keep what is committed to Him. He will not fail the suppliant whose lips are familiar with the prayer: “Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love You and worthily magnify Your holy name.”
–F. B. Meyer
6 And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.
7 Look at the obvious facts. Those who say they belong to Christ must recognize that we belong to Christ as much as they do. 8 I may seem to be boasting too much about the authority given to us by the Lord. But our authority builds you up; it doesn’t tear you down. So I will not be ashamed of using my authority.
9 I’m not trying to frighten you by my letters. 10 For some say, “Paul’s letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are worthless!” 11 Those people should realize that our actions when we arrive in person will be as forceful as what we say in our letters from far away.
12 Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!
Now the matter surfaces which has caused Paul to defend his apostleship so vigorously. Encouraged by rival “apostles,” some influential Corinthians had begun to compare these latecomers to Paul—with Paul coming out the loser. He was judged deficient as a speaker (verse 10; 11:5), weak in his relationship with the church (vacillating between boldness while absent and timidity when present, verses 10,11), unloving toward them (in refusing a monetary gift which, in their view, snubbed them as inferiors, 11:7-11; 12:14-18), and deficient in certain experiences of “power” (12:1-5). But Paul refuses to compare himself with his opponents on their shabby terms of self-boasting and self-promotion. (The Reformation Bible)
13 We will not boast about things done outside our area of authority. We will boast only about what has happened within the boundaries of the work God has given us, which includes our working with you. 14 We are not reaching beyond these boundaries when we claim authority over you, as if we had never visited you. For we were the first to travel all the way to Corinth with the Good News of Christ.
15 Nor do we boast and claim credit for the work someone else has done. Instead, we hope that your faith will grow so that the boundaries of our work among you will be extended. 16 Then we will be able to go and preach the Good News in other places far beyond you, where no one else is working. Then there will be no question of our boasting about work done in someone else’s territory. 17 As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”
The great thing about glorying in the LORD is that we can always do it. No one is so high that they cannot glory in the LORD. No one is so low that they cannot glory in the LORD. We can all glory in the LORD!
18 When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them.
I want to hear You say to me, “Well done.”
From Jeremiah 9: This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
HERE is Paul Baloche and “I Will Boast in the Lord.”
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.