We Are Our Own Character Reference for God

Posted: August 28, 2020 in 2 Corinthians, Evil People, Faithfulness, False Doctrine, False Preacher, False preachers, false teachers, Uncategorized
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2 Corinthians 3:1-6 NIV [1] Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? [2] You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. [3] You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. [4] Such confidence we have through Christ before God. [5] Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. [6] He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

 You yourselves, are the document that you ask for. Let the results speak for themselves. Paul is saying, that the Spirit of God had written the law of God on the fleshly part of their hearts.

Because Paul did not want to allow the false teachers to accuse him of being proud, he began his defense by posing two questions rather than making any overt claims.

Some false teachers had started carrying forged letters of recommendation to authenticate their authority. In no uncertain terms, Paul stated that he needed no such letters. The believers to whom Paul and his companions had preached were enough of a recommendation. Paul did use letters of introduction, however, many times. He wrote them on behalf of Phoebe (Romans 16:1, 2) and Timothy (1 Corinthians 16:10, 11). These letters helped Paul’s trusted companions and friends find a welcome in various churches.

Paul is almost shaming them, in this chapter, that it is necessary for him to prove himself to them. He says, do I have to brag on my own accomplishments, or have someone else who you respect recommend me? They had accepted the message that he brought to them originally, why have they begun to doubt?

Paul’s point was that he did not need secondhand testimony when the Corinthians had firsthand proof of his sincere and godly character, as well as the truth of his message that regenerated them.

He is saying to them, look around and see all the people who received Christ as their Savior under my ministering. Let the Christian converts there be my recommendation. All men can look and see the Christians in the church at Corinth. That should speak to all men who I am.

No human being can take credit for this process of conversion. It is the work of God’s Spirit. We do not become believers by following some manual or using some technique. Our conversion is a result of God’s implanting his Spirit in our heart, giving us new power to live for him.

Does not your heart washed in the blood of the Lamb and filled with the Spirit, not witness for me? Paul is saying that the place they are now in, with Christ, is the result of him ministering Christ to them. He says the Christ within you is because you listened to the message Christ had given Paul for them.

God was writing His law on the hearts of those people He transformed. The false teachers claimed external adherence to the Mosaic Law as the basis of salvation, but the transformed lives of the Corinthians proved that salvation was an internal change produced by God in the heart.

3:4, 5 Paul was not boasting; he gave God the credit for all his accomplishments. While the false teachers boasted of their own power and success, Paul expressed his humility before God. No one can claim to be adequate without God’s help. No one is competent to carry out the responsibilities of God’s calling in his or her own strength. Without the Holy Spirit’s enabling, our natural talent can carry us only so far. As Christ’s witnesses, we need the character and special strength that only God gives.

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