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Day 313 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Second Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 9 – Paul is careful to ground his call for Christian obedience in the grace that we have been given in Jesus. Obedience is an attempt to express our gratitude for the inexpressible gift that we have received. Our abounding good works flow out of Jesus’ abounding grace. The distribution of our resources flows out of His free distribution. We supply others because He has supplied us with a multitude of blessings. Yes, there is a sense in which all of this is submission, but it is a submission to an authority of grace—a compulsion of responsive love. It is something that is naturally flowing from our “confession of the gospel of Christ.” The result is the production and overflowing of thanksgivings to God.
If you find yourself lacking the impulse to give to those in need, you are likely forgetting the surpassing grace that was given to you while you were in need. If you are unable to forgive, you have lost sight of the forgiveness that is yours in Jesus. A forgiving heart is a forgiven heart. If you are unable to give something up, there is lack of appreciation for all that Jesus gave up on your behalf. When you identify the area where Gospel growth is lacking, you are identifying the place where you are failing to believe the Gospel. Ask the Holy Spirit to make Jesus and His Gospel real to you. This is what the Spirit delights to do.
How does this chapter teach you the difference between coercion (not the Gospel) and overflow (the Gospel)?
2 Corinthians 10 – In the face of self-boasting false apostles, Paul responds in a way that shows that he has been shaped by the Gospel. The meekness and gentleness of Jesus (Matthew ) causes Paul to avoid posturing and rhetorical one-upmanship. His focus remains on the internal and the actual rather than on the external and apparent. He boasts only about that which has been given to him by Jesus. He views his apostolic authority and ministerial influence as gifts to be used in his service to the church.
All of this is possible because Paul finds the entirety of his identity in the Lord’s approval and commendation. He has no need to compare himself to others because he does not find his validation through other people’s assessment of his value.
The Gospel saves us from the deadly trap of having to develop our own identity. It thereby frees us from false criticism (God has already handed down the final verdict of approval in Jesus) and from foolish comparisons (we are nothing in ourselves but have received everything from Jesus). A resulting fruit of the Gospel is a faithful confidence that allows us to boast in the work of the Lord, but refuses to boast in ourselves.
How have you found your identity in Jesus alone?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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