Paul’s Footsteps #197

Footsteps #197

We are always looking only on the surface of things, but 2Cor.10 has made it clear that there is a spiritual battle that is much deeper. Paul points to two specific areas where his friends in Corinth were making a mistake by looking only at the surface. Firstly, relationship. Read V7: Paul’s opponents were suggesting that they had a unique relationship with Christ that Paul didn’t have. They claimed to be spiritual heavyweights while they alleged that Paul was a poor substitute for the real thing. The truth was probably the exact opposite, but Paul resists derogatory remarks; rather he simply says to his former parishioners that he belonged to Christ as much as anyone. On the surface, it may have appeared otherwise, for Paul didn’t have all the credentials (v8) they boasted of. He doesn’t even deny their allegations in v10. But if they would look under the surface they would see a man who is in a deep and abiding relationship with Christ, a relationship that coloured all that he was and did. 

The second area where the Corinthians were making a mistake by looking only on the surface is in regard to authority. Paul addresses that in v8. Paul was also accused of appointing himself as an apostle when he really wasn’t one, while his detractors claimed to be “super-apostles” (see 11:5). On the surface, his claims might seem suspect, for he was once a persecutor of the Christians, and he wasn’t even a Christian until sometime after the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is possible that some of these false apostles had come from Jerusalem and even claimed to have known Christ during his earthly ministry. But again, if the church would take the time to look at the facts in depth, they would discover that Paul was given his apostleship by God himself, and therefore the claims of the false teachers are without merit.  

We all have our struggles (our strongholds), and a surface outward religion will never suffice. But the right weapons, the weapons of truth, love, faith, and prayer can. God is calling His people in this passage to be tough-minded, disciplined, competent soldiers in the spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of people (and their own minds, for that matter). That battle is becoming white hot.

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