MONDAY APRIL 9
SCRIPTURE: 2 CORINTHIANS 11
Paul’s reference to foolishness at the beginning of the chapter is not a reference to ignorance or stupidity. He is actually referring to an example or illustration he is going to use. There are a couple of reasons that examples or illustrations could be referred to as foolishness. One would be that those who think they are spiritually superior to you would reject your example or illustration. The other reason is that no example or illustration is as perfect as the Biblical principle you are trying to illustrate. At some point the illustration would undoubtedly break down and seem foolish.
The example that Paul puts before us casts him as the father of the bride, the Corinthian church as the bride, and Jesus as the groom. Paul is not attempting to take the place of God the Father. He is simply using an illustration to make a point. He says as the “father of the bride” that he had a divine jealousy for the church that she remain pure until she is presented to the Groom. It is important to remember that love does not envy but love can be jealous. Love can be passionate about exclusivity with and the protection of the one loved. So, Paul is rightfully jealous for this church.
As Paul continues with his illustration, he refers back to the first marriage and how Satan, the serpent, deceived Eve. He is rightfully concerned that the Corinthian church will continue to be deceived by the Judaizers and fall away from the true Gospel of grace.
In verse 6, Paul alludes again to the fact that he was unskilled in speaking. Although Paul was an incredible intellect and a masterful writer, most theologians believed that he was not that good of a public speaker. There are some that say that he even had some sort of impediment. Nevertheless, given the opportunity to verbally share the Gospel, Paul didn’t hesitate to speak in public forums.
In verses 7-11, Paul reminded the Corinthians that he didn’t ask for any financial support from them when he was at Corinth. Instead he worked as a tent maker and he received support from the Macedonian churches. The Judaizers and false teachers could not make that claim. They extorted as much money as they could from the Corinthian church. Yet even that did not seem to register with the Corinthians. They were still inclined to follow after those Judaizers.
In verse 13, Paul calls these men false apostles and deceitful workman who disguised themselves or masqueraded as genuine apostles of Christ. You might think it would be easy to discern between the two but Paul reminds them and us that Satan, at times, disguises himself as an angel of light.
But he reminds us that their (the Judaizers and false teachers) end will correspond to their deeds. In other words, they will not enter into heaven but will continue their fall into hell. This is not something for us to rejoice in. But we need to be reminded that those who reject the true Gospel of Jesus can have only one eternal destination and it is not the one anyone would want.
From there Paul concludes this chapter by talking about the suffering and abuse he endured. There is no way anyone would continue to tolerate such treatment if he is not genuine and sold out to the truth. The things that happened to Paul would have caused a false teacher or false apostle to walk away. Instead Paul endured it all. And on top of that in verse 28, he was constantly carrying the pressure of his concern for all the churches. His life was one that most would not envy and, indeed, most would avoid at all costs. But that is evidence of his genuineness. May we have more people who are willing to suffer for the glorious Gospel.