II Corinthians 10:1-12, 17-18
All scripture exists for God’s purposes. It is through the written word that God reveals Himself to us. Paul reveals Christ to us through that which he says and does. God wants us to know Him, to understand Him, and to act upon the knowledge and understanding which He gives.
In the text before us, Paul acts upon the knowledge and understanding which God has given him. Paul presents a living example of how the Lord would have all believers act upon that which He freely gives.
Paul was about to make an urgent request of the church at Corinth. Paul prefaced his request with an announcement of the manner in which he would beseech them. He would do so by the meekness and gentleness of Christ. Christ came not to condemn the failures of men. He came such that men might know the love of the Father and have a new relationship with Him. Paul wants that which God wants.
In verse 2, Paul beseeches the Corinthians to make it unnecessary for him to do that which he intends to do. It was Paul’s intention to be bold to certain ones within the church when he visited. Paul did not want to discipline those who erred. Paul wanted the church to address the error of them “which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh” (v. 2). Paul wanted what God wants. God wants His church to correct them who err and to do so with the meekness and gentleness of Christ.
In correcting them who walk in the flesh, the church is not battling the flesh. The battle is against imaginations (Satan’s arguments) and high things (Satan’s false claims) [see v. 5].
Correcting them who walk in the flesh requires proper weaponry. God supplies the weapons which destroy the strongholds of Satan. The weapons which God supplies have the capability of bringing our every thought into the obedience of Christ (v. 5). Proper use of God’s weaponry was on display when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Jesus was tempted three times. Each and every time, Jesus countered with the word of God.
Paul possessed the weapons which God supplied. In verse 6, Paul states that he has God’s weapons at the ready and that he shall use them when “your obedience is fulfilled.” Paul possesses heavy artillery. He intends to use it to revenge all disobedience (resistance to the corrective actions of the church).
In verses 7 and 8, Paul directly addresses those in need of correction. He states the reason that he was given apostolic authority. It was not to destroy; it was to edify. Paul’s detractors found his letters to be heavy hitting and powerful. They found Paul to be anything but. They did not recognize meekness and gentleness. They perceived him to be weak and ineffective. His body was weak in appearance and his speech contemptible. They did not know the real Paul and they did not know the God who uses the weak to defeat the strong and foolish things to confound the wise.
They looked upon the flesh and perceived weakness. Paul assures them that when he is come they will see that which is weighty and powerful. In verse 12, Paul tells them why they err. They commend themselves. They look upon each other and measure themselves by themselves. Paul uses a different measuring stick. Paul is not concerned with how his works appear to stack up in comparison with the works of others. Paul’s concern is that he is doing that which God wants him to do.
When Paul comes to Corinth, he will do that which God wants. Paul will use the weapons of God to defeat them who lift up themselves as Satan lifted up himself to be as God.
In verse 17, Paul states: “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” Paul made this same statement in his first epistle (I Cor. 1:31). These words are not Paul’s. They were first spoken through the lips of Jeremiah (see Jer. 9:24). Paul’s response to them who glory in themselves is to use the weapons that God has given him. Paul quoted the word of God. Paul did as Jesus did when confronted by Satan (who sought to be as God).
Those who commend themselves, do as Satan. To glory in self is to be as Satan. Paul had cause to glory. Paul did that which God wanted done and did it in the manner in which God wanted it done. Paul followed the example of Christ who was ever obedient to the will of God the Father.
God wants all men to know and understand Him. God wants all to act upon the knowledge and understanding which He gives. Let us use the weapon of His word for His purposes. Let us use that which He has given in the manner that has shown to us. Let us do all as God desires. Let us do, and then, glory in that which God has done.