2 Corinthians 11:15-19

In 2 Corinthians 11:15-19 Paul continues to explain the way the enemy works. We know from scripture the plan he has for each of us as humans is to “kill, steal and destroy” as Jesus told us in John 10:10. So it’s no wonder that the servants of Satan, his doers of evil and destruction, will try and look appealing and someone to trust. “So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” Clarke wrote “It is generally said that Satan has three forms under which he tempts men:

  1. The subtle serpent.
  2. The roaring lion.
  3. The angel of light.

He often, as the angel of light, persuades men to do things under the name of religion. And he positions his servants to do the same.

The Corinthian church has had a faction that continued to be antagonistic against Paul. As he writes, it is easy to sense both Paul’s sarcasm and his hesitancy to promote himself.  He would rather talk about Jesus, but that message is hindered by the church’s disregard of his credentials as a true apostle, a true representative of Jesus. “I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little.” He doesn’t really care what they think about him as a person. But he cares deeply about the Gospel and the truth of Jesus Christ. That’s when his ire gets raised.

Paul really dislikes talking about himself and this is an uncomfortable conversation for him to have. He also doesn’t like to discuss his resume or credentials, yet is forced to by the small group that continually works to undermine him. He’s not on a campaign to raise his stature with the church. He wants to preach Christ and Him alone, and put this nonsense behind him so he can minister truth without all the politics and subversion. “What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not with the Lord’s authority but as a fool.” He doesn’t claim to be speaking for Christ, but letting his life speak for itself.

Paul gets personal with the Corinthians here. The group that claimed superiority – the so called ‘super apostles’ – had no problem boasting about their credentials and place of authority in the church. It wasn’t based on God’s call, but their own desire to puff themselves up. Paul uses sarcasm to call the church out. “Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves!” He basically says if the Corinthian Christians are wise enough to listen to these self-inflated fools, surely they can listen to him for a while! Ultimately that is all Paul wants, for the church to listen to God’s truth which he delivers as God’s called.

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