A famous actor was present, and he recited the twenty-third Psalm with great dramatic flair and emotion, and sat down to great applause. Then a very simple man got up and began to recite the same Psalm. But his presentation was straight from his heart, so when he finished the group sat in respectful silence.
That was the difference between the preaching of Paul and the preaching of the most eminent apostles. He thoroughly manifested himself among the Corinthian Christians in all things. Did I commit sin in humbling myself… because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge?
Many people thought of someone who charged no speaking fee as strictly an amateur. Did I commit sin?
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This shows Paul at his most ironic. The Corinthian Christians who despised Paul were so worldly in their thinking they actually thought Paul might be in sin because he preached the gospel of God to you free of charge!
I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you : The word Paul used for robbed is strong. In classical Greek, this word was used for stripping a dead soldier of his armor. Paul refers to the fact that he received support from Christians in other cities during his time in Corinth.
God’s holy love
He could say he robbed those other churches in the sense that by right, the Corinthian Christians should have supported him when he ministered to their spiritual needs 1 Corinthian Instead, Paul was a burden to no one among the Corinthian Christians. Paul thanked them for their generosity in Philippians As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
Because I do not love you? God knows!
Put on the Armor of Light
But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
Why did he embarrass them this way? It was only because he loved them and would find a way to bring them back from their worldly thinking.
Fruit Of The Spirit
I will continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are : Paul wanted to expose these most eminent apostles as frauds. If it took biting sarcasm or embarrassing the Corinthian Christians to expose them, Paul would use those tools. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ : Here Paul becomes even more direct.
Without sarcasm, he plainly calls his detractors in Corinth or at least the leaders among them false apostles and deceitful workers. Few modern Christians want to deal with the fact that there are still false apostles and deceitful workers among Christians. False apostles are those who are transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
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In fact, no one can transform themselves into a true apostle of Jesus; it is only a calling from God. Paul is showing the Corinthian Christians how foolish it is to rely on image and outward appearances. It is so easy for all people, including Christians, to be taken in by image and outward appearances.
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Many will only recognize evil if it openly declares itself as evil. But this approach will end up embracing Satan himself , who transforms himself into an angel of light. If Satan were to appear before a human audience, they would be strongly tempted to worship him as a creature of almost divine beauty. He would be regarded as an angel of light.
Even so, it is foolish for the Corinthian Christians — or us today — to be taken in by image and outward appearances. The subtle serpent. The roaring lion. The angel of light. He often, as the angel of light , persuades men to do things under the name of religion , which are subversive of it. Hence all the persecutions, faggots, and fires of a certain Church, under pretence of keeping heresy out of the Church; and hence all the horrors and infernalities of the inquisition. In the form of heathen persecution, like a lion he has ravaged the heritage of the Lord. And by means of our senses and passions , as the subtle serpent , he is frequently deceiving us, so that often the workings of corrupt nature are mistaken for the operations of the Spirit of God.
According to their works : This is the terrible condemnation reserved for these false apostles — to be judged according to their works.
I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little. What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast. For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise!
For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you , if one takes from you , if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face. To our shame, I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold—I speak foolishly—I am bold also. This will become evident when Paul starts stating his credentials as a true apostle.
What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly : Paul speaks not according to the Lord in the sense that his defense of his credentials focuses on himself. He was happy to write for we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord 2 Corinthians Paul feels forced into writing about himself: Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast.
Again, Paul uses biting sarcasm. If the Corinthian Christians are wise enough to put up with so many fools, surely they can listen to Paul for a while! The bondage Paul speaks of may indicate that these false apostles were legalists, trying to put people under the bondage of the Law. However, it is just as likely that the bondage Paul refers to is the personal domination and authority the most eminent apostles held over others.
The emphasis on image and outward appearance is often coupled with an authoritarian approach to leadership, and this probably explains the bondage Paul refers to. Would the Corinthian Christians even accept it if one strikes you on the face? Guilty as charged! But in whatever anyone is bold — I speak foolishly — I am bold also : The most eminent apostles were bold in proclaiming their greatness. Are they Hebrews? So am I.
Are they Israelites? Are they the seed of Abraham? Are they ministers of Christ? From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.
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