There is a natural fleshly desire for power that operates in the world and we see it in government, religion, business, but Paul puts the focus on the work we have to do “according to our assignment”. He says “we do not wage war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but powerful to God for the tearing down of fortresses, tearing down arguments 5 and all pride that is raised up against the knowledge of God”. There is natural, worldly knowledge and there are natural worldly desires that consume people turning their attention from “the knowledge of God”. This is where our battle is, “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” so that we can go foward proclaiming the gospel.
Just as Christ Himself Is, So Also are We
2 Corinthians 10:1–10
There is a natural fleshly way of operating that boasts itself and dominates by overpowering and suppressing. This is driven by personal agenda and fulfillment of self desires for self promotion. And we often find people pursuing power through government, religious, and business organizations. Paul recognizes these fleshly human struggles for power and says in
2 Corinthians 10:3–5 (LEB) For although we are living in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but powerful to God for the tearing down of fortresses, tearing down arguments 5 and all pride that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
There is a different authority, an authority that comes from the Lord. In that authority, we stand together with Christ, in 2 Corinthians 10:7 “just as Christ himself is, so also are we”. No different message, no different agenda. Not needing to take anything from them, but for this purpose in 2 Corinthians 10:8 “for building you up and not for tearing you down”.
Proclaim the Gospel in the Regions That lie Beyond
2 Corinthians 10:11–18
There are those that boast of their accomplishments but that is not our place as Christians. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 10:13-16 puts his work in context:
- “we will not boast beyond limits”, “but according to the measure of the assignment that God has assigned to us”, “we have reached even as far as you with the gospel of Christ”.
- “but having hope”, “according to our assignment”, “that we may proclaim the gospel in the regions that lie beyond you”.
And whatever success we may have “according to our assignment”, it is not for us to judge or proclaim because in
2 Corinthians 10:18 (LEB) For it is not the one commending himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
The Sincerity and the Purity of Devotion to Christ
2 Corinthians 11:1–15
If It Is Necessary to Boast
The Extraordinary Degree of the Revelations
2 Corinthians 12:1–10
Paul spends a good deal of time on this subject of boasting and here in 2 Corinthians 12:1 he says, “It is necessary to boast; it is not profitable, but I will proceed”. If anyone could boast, it would be Paul and he has described his heritage and training, and calling. But all of this kind of conversation tends to degrade into self promotion or self defense and these are not “profitable”. What is profitable is the work of God. Teaching, sharing, encouraging, these have value. So here, Paul does boast in his experience in heaven, the “visions and revelations of the Lord” he had been given that are helpful and encouraging to others.
But there was also a thorn in his flesh to prevent him from exalting himself and it is in his physical weakness that the power of God is seen through him.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (LEB) And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, because the power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore rather I will boast most gladly in my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may reside in me.
We Are Speaking in Christ Before God
2 Corinthians 12:11–21
- 2 Corinthians 10:1–10 Just as Christ Himself Is, So Also are We
- 2 Corinthians 10:11–18 Proclaim the Gospel in the Regions That lie Beyond
- 2 Corinthians 12:1–10 The Extraordinary Degree of the Revelations
- 2 Corinthians 10:1-18
- 2 Corinthians 11:1-33
- 2 Corinthians 12:1-21