2 Corinthians: God's way is the best way (The abundant life by W. Larry Richards

By W. Larry Richards

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Not with ink, but by the Spirit of God (3:3)! Thus, it is the so-called "letters of recommendation" his opponents are flaunting, while pointing out with vigor that Paul does not have such recommendations, that introduce the rather developed subject that follows. An overview of the comparison of ministries (3:3-18) Before we proceed, it would be helpful to review an important observation about the identity of Paul's opponents. The discussion about Moses and the tablets of stone clearly indicates that Paul is countering the thinking that could originate only with persons who are Jewish Christians.

In the course of his defense, Paul makes an eloquent statement about the faithfulness of God (1: 18-22), intending, of course, to imply that he considers himself faithful too! "This is our boast" (vss. 12-14) Paul's first words as he begins the major portion of his letter are a direct allusion to the defense of his apostolic ministry that follows. " First, he wants to boast about his clear conscience on the question of his own personal integrity (vs. 12). Second, he wants to make a psychological point by writing that he will boast about the Corinthians in the "day of the Lord Jesus" if they will, in turn, boast of him now on the present issue (vs.

1:18; 2:15). But further, Paul writes about the future salvation, the time when there will be no more evidence of sin ("we will be saved," Rom. 10:13; see also Rev. 21:4). In precisely the same way, Paul refers to the marvelous act of God's deliverance as a past act, a future act, and one that is continuing in the present: "He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us" (2 Cor. 1: 10). God's involvement in our lives, on all fronts, does indeed cover the past, present, and future.

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