Paul defends His Authority
Read (2 Cor 10:1-11)
In the first nine chapters, Paul addressed the majority of believers who loved and appreciated his ministry. In the last chapters he is addressing the small group of Christians who opposed him. They were former Jews who professed faith in Christ (2 Cor 11:22). They were false apostles disguising themselves as apostles of Christ (2 Cor 11:13). In the tenth chapter, Paul defends his apostleship in terms of his character, authority and his divine commission. Paul was blamed that he was bold in his letters but timid in person (2 Cor 10:1, 10). Paul says that his confidence and authority came from Christ. He is a follower of Christ who is meek and gentle (Mat 11:29). Paul’s weapon of warfare was not of flesh but of divine power. He did not use boastful tactics of the flesh like false teachers. Paul uses a military metaphor to explain his strategy. His strategy is to oppose the proud arguments of false teachers with the gospel and they fall at the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5). One of the ways to control our thought life is to bring every thought captive to obey Christ. Paul’s strategy to oppose the false teaching was the clear teaching of the gospel. He was confident that the devices brought against him will fail. Paul was ready to punish those who oppose him but gave them some time to change their mind. Human performance and accomplishment cannot earn God’s approval. There is no power in self assertion and boasting. Those who are self-reliant and proud cannot appreciate God’s grace. Our boasting should be only in the cross of Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 6:14).
Paul’s Divine Commendation
Read (2 Cor 10:12-18)
Those who opposed Paul claimed that they belonged to Christ. Paul explains the validity of his apostleship here. The Corinthians must recognize that Paul is an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul views his apostleship and his ministry as gifts to be used for the benefit of others and not for their destruction. False apostles criticized Paul that “His letters are weighty and strong but his bodily presence is weak and his speech contemptible” (2 Cor 10:10). Paul wants them to know that he will be just as forceful and demanding in person as he is in his letters (2 Cor 10:11). He has no need to compare himself to others because he was commended by Christ. The false teachers compare themselves with one another. Paul sought his identity in Christ and God’s approval (2 Cor 10:18). This freed Paul from living in fear of criticism. He delighted in the ministry God has given him at Corinth. Paul never took credit of someone else has done. Paul was responsible for founding the church at Corinth. Paul was willing to take credit for their spiritual growth because God enabled him to minister them. He knew that his commendation came from Christ. Paul’s success in the ministry was not due to his own ability but Christ working through him (2 Cor 10:17; Rom 15:17-18). Thus his boasting was not in himself, but in the Lord. When God’s servants embrace God’s approval and power, they can serve God with confidence. Many people struggle with insecurity because they are trying to please people rather than Christ in their ministry. Pray that the gospel would release us from seeking human approval. We are approved by faith alone in Christ.