Monday, May 10, 2010

Why We Should Boast In Christ, Not The Flesh: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18

Text: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18

Theme: Glory in Christ, not the flesh

4. By Boasting In Christ (10 - 13)
     A. Meekness shows God's power and love (10:1-11)
     B. God's commendation is all that counts (10:12-18)

What a person brags about is what he believes in. The false teachers bragged about fleshly accomplishments and outward appearances. As ministers of Satan who looked like righteous men (11:13-15), they taught a false gospel (11:4), and discredited Paul's ministry as "weak", "unimpressive", and "contemptible" (cf. 10:10). In chapters 10-13, Paul more directly defends his ministry as one which glories in Christ, not the flesh.

Meekness shows God's power and love (1-11). The false teachers accused Paul of writing strong letters, but being weak and unimpressive in his personal appearance and speech. Paul's "weakness" in dealing with the Corinthians, however, was 1) a demonstration of the gentleness and meekness of Christ (1), 2) because he waged spiritual wars in the strength of the Spirit, not the flesh (3-5; cf. Ephesians 6, which describes spiritual armor and the offensive weapon of the Sword of the Spirit, "which is the Word of God"), 3) being judged by the outward appearance rather than spiritual reality (7), 4) because he wanted to build them up, rather than tear them down (8), and 5) because he would actually perform, "in deed", those things he spoke about, if they did not repent (cf. 1:23, 24, where Paul delayed a future visit to spare the Corinthians a "strong" personal confrontation). Meekness shows God's power and love, rather than confidence in the flesh.

God's commendation is all that counts (12-18). In contrast to the Judaizers, Paul was "not bold to class or compare " himself "with some of those who commend themselves" (12a). This was because "when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding" (12b). The false teachers sought to build upon ministries which other people started. They sought to establish their authority by bragging about themselves, and comparing themselves with one another. By contrast, Paul sought to preach Christ where others had not, and boasted only about the fruit which God bore through the gospel of Christ (13-16). His statement, "But HE WHO BOASTS, LET HIM BOAST IN THE LORD" (17), was because, "not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends" (18). 

Showing meekness, and bragging only about that which God accomplishes through the power of the gospel (cf. Romans 1:16), glorifies Christ rather than the flesh. 

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The Gospel


Have you heard Christ died for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead? Did you know God saves you from hell and gives you eternal life through faith in this finished work alone, not your merits (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 1:8-9)? This is so man cannot boast, and God alone gets the glory (Eph. 2:8-9).

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