Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (II Corinthians 3:4-6)
in the last post Paul was addressing the subject of forgiving one who has offended us. He wrote, So you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorry. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. Who is sufficient for such things? (II Corinthians 2:7-8,14b)
Now in chapter 3 Paul addresses the subject of ministry. He wrote that the Corinthians to whom he had ministered were a letter of recommendation for him and the others who had joined him in ministry to them.
You yourselves are our letters of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tables of stone but on tables of human hearts. (vs.2-3)
After these words Paul quickly adds that his ministry to the Corinthians was not from himself but was from Christ. The Author of the letter was Christ. Paul and the others were simply the delivery agents. This letter was not written with ink but rather was written by the Holy Spirit on the tablets of their hearts.
Paul is saying that he was not sufficient to claim that any of his effectiveness in ministry came from himself, but his sufficiency came from God. It was God who made him competent to be a minister of the gospel.
In both these cases granting forgiveness to the one who offended us and having an effective ministry to others, the real question is: Who is sufficient for such things? And to press the matter further, where does our sufficiency for anything (our marriages, raising children, our jobs, etc.) originate? Are we self sufficient or is our sufficiency from another source?
Unfortunately all too many of us think we are self-sufficient. This is especially true of “successful” people. They believe that they are self-made. It was their hard work, their intelligence, their abilities to make money, preach or minister to people. They think they did it.
Paul says the opposite. He says that our sufficiency for all things is found in Jesus Christ. His work for our salvation is sufficient. Nothing can be added to it. But He also makes us sufficient to fulfill our life calling. More will be said about this in the next post.
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