Paul Declares the Corinthian Believers his Letter of Approval written by the Spirit of God
2 Corinthians 3:1-3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. NKJV
Paul declares to these believers in Corinth that they are the proof of his authenticity “in Christ”, for it was through his proclamation of the gospel of grace that the Spirit of God used to regenerate them and turn them to Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul makes no mistake in asking this question, because he wants them and all to know that their salvation is his approval. Paul makes this analysis or comparison exactly as he did when he wrote to the Roman believers of how our (human beings) unrighteousness approves or demonstrates God’s Righteousness (Romans 3:5). The point being made here is that just as God needs no approval from any human being by the sheer fact of who He is to man (man’s Creator), so does Paul need no approval from other so-called Apostles who had nothing to do with bringing the gospel to these Corinthian people, for none of them spent 18 months there in Corinth teaching them the Word of God (Acts 18:11), therefore, why would they ever need to authenticate Paul’s authority among them, just as it would be foolish for any man to try and declare or authenticate God’s Authority to do as He Pleases in His Own Creation (Can any man create a planet or anything for that matter?). Paul expresses his great affection for these believers by declaring them (each one of them) his epistle or letter written on his heart and this despite all of the sin such as envy, jealousy, lawsuits against each other, sexual immorality, drunkenness at the Lord’s Supper, chaotic corporate worship, etc., they were still beloved by the Apostle Paul and his desire to set things right in their midst was further testimony to his love for them. Their new direction in life was evident to the other people in Corinth that rejected or resisted the gospel of grace and it was also evident that it was not due to any human means or effort on their parts, but it was the Spirit of God who breathed this new life into their souls giving them a desire to worship the True God and turn from the idols that were previously such a common part of their lives.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. NKJV
Paul is not declaring his preaching something great or to be spoken of by them at all, but on the contrary Paul exalts our Lord Jesus Christ by declaring his confidence or pepoithesis meaning his trust and reliance is in Him and all the praise and glory for the fact these people in Corinth became Christians is all His. Paul declares all honor and praise to our Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit knowing that he nor anyone else is sufficient or hikanos meaning competent, ample, or fit in character or good enough or worthy to turn any lost sinner from idols to Christ, but his and our sufficiency or hikanotes meaning the ability to do anything is all of God or from God to us or out of God into us as He accomplishes His Will on His Earth. In other words, everything done through any man or woman that is holy and has eternal spiritual value is all accomplished by God through human instruments and likewise every single sinful unholy thing men and women do here on the earth is all done from their flesh and God has no part in it at all. Paul declares that it is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit that has made him and us today able or hikanoo meaning to qualify and to equip one with adequate power to perform duties as ministers or diakonos meaning servants, waiters, or attendants for Christ as a Pastor or Teacher of the New Testament or the New Covenant that He Christ purchased with His Own Blood and wrote down by the hands of His Apostles (including Paul).
Paul declares that his sufficiency or hikanotes to minister or diakonos this New Covenant is not to instruct sinful men and women to go about trying to keep the Ten Commandments because no one from Adam to today has done so or will ever be able to keep them because the Law of God is Spiritual and we human beings are carnal sold into bondage to sin (Romans 7:14), therefore, the Law kills man’s efforts to obtain righteousness, but through the Spirit of God we sinful human beings in total bondage to sin can now receive a supernatural life from Him that is foreign to us and not from us at all (Romans 8:2-3 & Hebrews 7:16). As Paul wrote to the Galatians declaring to them the intent of the Law when he said, “For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise. Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only One. Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:18-26).
“As all types and figures in the Law were but empty shadows without the coming of Christ, so the New Testament is but a dead letter without the Holy Spirit in redeemed men as the living power of a full salvation.” William Law
“Mortification from a self-strength, carried on by ways of self-invention, unto the end of a self-righteousness is the soul and substance of all false religion... The Spirit alone is sufficient for this work. All ways and means without Him are useless. He is the great efficient. He is the One who gives life and strength to our efforts.” John Owen
“We declare, upon Scriptural authority, that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, and so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful, supernatural, irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit, no human will ever be constrained towards Christ.” Charles Spurgeon
“Wow! It is remarkable what God the Father has done for us sinful human beings making all the sacrifice Himself through Christ and we have done nothing but hate Him and rebel against Him and sin against Him, but all praise and honor and glory goes to our Lord Jesus Christ knowing that we are sufficient, fit, good enough, and worthy in Him. Let us not forget that Paul is here writing to a group of believers who were bringing lawsuits against one another and being envious and jealous of one another and constantly filled with strife, bitter conflict, and violent dissensions in their church, but Paul says they are his epistle written upon his heart.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…