2 Corinthians 5:12-14

In 2 Corinthians 5:12-14 Paul makes it clear that he’s not pounding on his chest to try to gain commendations. Was he just trying to glorify himself before the Corinthians? Not at all. Though Paul gloried in his weakness, his trials, and his struggles, he doesn’t do it to brag before the Corinthian Christians. “We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.” The church at Corinth thought the trials faced made Paul less of an apostle and man of God, not more of an apostle and man of God.

One problem with the Corinthian Christians is that they liked those who glory in appearance and not in heart. They looked down on Paul because his glory was not in appearance and only in heart. By telling the Corinthian Christians how God worked through his struggles and trials, Paul gave them something to answer those who thought that way. We are so easily impressed by a person’s image that we often do not see or care about their substance. It isn’t that appearance is completely unimportant, but compared to the heart it almost is. How do you view those who face trials and aren’t boasting about their walk with Christ?

Paul describes himself as being “beside ourselves” which describes crazy, irrational behavior. The Corinthian Christians probably thought Paul was crazy because he seemed content with a life of pain, trials, and discomfort if it brought glory to God. “For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.” Poole wrote “The apostle tells them, that if indeed he was beside himself in any of their opinion, it was to God, that is, for the honour and glory of God: or if he was sober, it was for their sake; in what temper so ever he was, it was either for service to God, or them.”

Paul makes it clear what motivates and drive him and his team – the love of Christ. Paul felt compelled to do what he did in ministry, because he received so much love from Jesus that it compelled him to serve others. “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;” Calvin wrote “If Jesus died for us, it is only fitting that we live for Him. Jesus gave us new life, not to live for ourselves but to live for Him. The question is simple: Are you living for yourself, or are you living for Jesus? “He died for us that we might die to ourselves.”

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