2 Corinthians 10:1-4

In 2 Corinthians 10:1-4 Paul begins a new tone and pleads for the Corinthians to hear what he has to say. He writes to them in humility and with gentleness the way Christ would interact with them. In these next few chapters, Paul will get a little “rough” with the Corinthian Christians. “I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ – I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!” He has tried to be humble when in their presence, but when he is away and writing his guidance he speaks boldly in order to get the message across.

Clarke explained “Having now finished his directions and advices relative to the collection for the poor, he resumes his argument relative to the false apostle, who had gained considerable influence by representing St. Paul as despicable in his person, his ministry, and his influence.” Paul is accused of walking in the flesh because of the perceived contradiction between his gentleness and his severity. “I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh.” These accusations where likely from a vocal minority in the church, but certainly shows how disruptive a small group can be.

Paul will admit that he walks according to the flesh in the sense that we all do. He is a flesh and blood human being, and he struggles with the same things the Corinthian Christians struggled with. Scripture is clear that all of us struggle as human beings with our flesh. However, Paul wants to make it clear that he does not war according to the flesh. “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.” Struggling with the flesh shows we are normal humans. The enemy continually attacks us with temptation that is designed to cause us to walk in the flesh. Our response, like Paul’s, needs to be of warfare against that temptation.

When Paul fought this battle, his weapons were not material but spiritual, suited for spiritual war. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” In Ephesians 6, Paul lists the spiritual weapons he used: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. To rely on these weapons took faith in God instead of any human material defense.

Guzik explained that the Corinthians Christians had access to the weapons Paul described but used something completely differently:

  • Instead of the belt of truth, they fought with manipulation
  • Instead of the breastplate of righteousness, they fought with the image of success
  • Instead of the shoes of the gospel, they fought with smooth words
  • Instead of the shield of faith, they fought with the perception of power
  • Instead of the helmet of salvation, they fought with lording over authority
  • Instead of the sword of the Spirit, they fought with human schemes and programs

God’s  spiritual weapons are ignored by the world but feared by the enemy. When we fight with true spiritual weapons, then no principality or power can stand against us.

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