Finding strength - Explore the Bible for May 27, 2018
Explore the Bible
May 27, 2018
2 Corinthians 12:7b-10; 13:2-8 (ESV)
Paul had been called up to the third heaven where He “heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” (2 Cor. 12:4, ESV). He could have been arrogant and prideful about that experience, but God gave him a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble and dependent on the Lord. Three times Paul asked God to remove it, and God said, “No,” but added, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul declared, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9, ESV).
To be falsely accused is undoubtedly one of the most hurtful things one can experience. If we don’t respond, we look guilty. If we defend ourselves, we appear to be making excuses. Similarly, Paul was called upon to defend his authority as an apostle. At the same time, he felt compelled to admonish and encourage the believers in Corinth.
Paul was being criticized by false apostles, and his apostleship was questioned. He feared he would have to deal with serious sins of believers living contrary to the will of God (2 Cor. 12:21). He had warned them of the consequences of sin and promised discipline for the unrepentant.
If they demanded proof of his apostolic authority, it would be given in terms of God’s response to sin; however, Paul wanted to use his God-given power to build up and not to tear down. Desiring to help the Corinthian Christians mature spiritually, he exhorted them to realize that Christ was living in them, and offered a benediction: “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor. 13:11, ESV).
As Christians, we often need to be reminded, like the Corinthians, that Christ lives in us (2 Cor. 13:5). We are weak in our sins, but in His strength we are made complete.