2 Corinthians 3:4-6
And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:…
The apostle here dwells upon the confidence he has in the Corinthian Church as the all sufficient commendation of his ministry and apostleship. But he will take no honour to himself over his successes at Corinth. He had but been the agent, and the power and sufficiency were altogether of God. St. Paul was always before men firm, confident, bold; but always before God humble and dependent. The expression, "through Christ to God-ward," probably means "that our eyes are directed towards God, the Source of our confidence, and that it is through Jesus Christ alone that we possess the right thus to lean on him." Illustrate, from Old Testament Scriptures, the Jewish habit of mind which referred all events to God's direct working, confounding the cause with the agency. For instance, God is said to harden Pharaoh's heart, and to send a lying spirit among the prophets. Such direct reference of all things to God is characteristic of the imaginative, uncultured, superstitions ages; but, in intelligent form, it is found in Christianity. There is no confusion of power and agent, but behind agency the "power" is fully and humbly recognized. This we further unfold, noting the following points: -
I. IN CHRISTIANITY THE MAN STILL WORKS. God proposes to save the world by man. He does not use miracle, but deals with men as moral beings, subject to various moral influences arising from their relations one to another. Every man is a force upon his fellow man. Some, by reason of particular positions and endowments, exert great influence on other men. It is at once true that man must be saved by man, and that man cannot be saved by man. The paradox is not a difficult one to explain from the Christian point of view. Christianity asks, therefore, from every man three things.
1. The consecration of his talents and trusts.
2. The sanctifying of his relationships.
3. And the faithful use of his opportunities.
True of man in his ordinary life spheres, this is more especially true of man as occupied in the Christian ministry.
II. IN CHRISTIANITY THE MAN IS ONLY AGENT. He has no sort of independent authority. He is not fittingly likened to the plenipotentiary, who has a matter wholly committed to his judgment and decision. The Christian minister or worker is never free of his close and intimate relations with God. His "sufficiency" is never of himself.
1. He works for another, and has no self-seeking ends to gain.
2. He works at the will of another, holding himself ever in attitudes of dependent and submissive obedience, saying continually, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"
3. He works in the strength of another, leaning upon the "everlasting arms." Taking these as characteristic features of the Christian ministry, it will be readily shown in what a marked way they contrast with the spirit of the self-depending and self-seeking worldly man. dick
III. IN CHRISTIANITY THE MAN IS ACTUALLY ENDUED WITH DIVINE POWER. "Our sufficiency is of God." It is this truth that needs such distinct assertion for the sake of the Christian worker himself, as well as for the sake of those to whom his work is a witness. The Christian is a man quickened with a new life; it is that "new life" which finds expression in his working. The Christian is a man sealed by the Holy Ghost, who dwells in him, and that Holy Ghost is his secret strength and inspiration. Two figures may be contrasted. The water flowing in pipes, and the sap flowing in the branch. The latter is the only figure that efficiently represents the relation of power and agency in the Christian worker, and it is the figure used by our Lord himself. The union and relation are such that, while the full manhood is retained, and even nourished into vigour, the vitality, the real force behind the manhood, and the direction of all details of action, are God's. The Christian conceives of himself as not even able to think anything as of himself, much less to do anything. He is "strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: