“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,” 2 Corinthians 3:5 (ESV)
It is not that we are able in ourselves to do what we should do when it comes to proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ to others. To do so as we are commanded requires that we seek God to supply the means and the ability. The Apostle Paul was thinking of the results of his ministry in the city of Corinth. Many people had been brought into the family of God while Paul was preaching and teaching in that city. As he writes this letter he wanted to be sure to acknowledge that it was God who deserves the credit for the results of his work. We all need to consider and be careful to give our Lord credit for His work in our lives too. God is involved in anything of value in our lives. We need to recognize that without God’s working in and through us nothing of eternal value is accomplished. Let’s remember the promise that our competence, our sufficiency, and our adequacy comes from God and that He wants to use us to do His work, to do something worthwhile in life. Let’s allow Him to use us today.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Weakness is bad, right? None of us seek to be seen as weak even if we are weak. These words were written as a testimony by the Apostle Paul. Paul tells of a prayer he had earnestly prayed three times asking God to remove a problem that he called “a thorn in the flesh.” We do not know just what it was while many who also do not know speculate with assumptions. What we do know is that God knows what is best for us and everything that He does for us is for our best even when it is not what we asked for. God knew what was best for the Apostle Paul. God also knew the perfect solution for his problem. Paul acknowledged his weakness; it had a purpose – to glorify God. Paul learned to even boast of his weaknesses. If we are true children of God we will want more than anything else, that God’s name will be glorified. We want to realize that His power is perfect and all that he does is perfect. When God does not do just what we ask of Him, He always gives us the grace and power to overcome.
“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NASB)
Context is important all the time an especially for our verst today. It comes in the midst of Paul’s defense of his apostleship to the believers in Corinth. Such is our promise today. This is God’s universal purpose for all the suffering Christians have in life. Suffering develops our trust and contentment in God as we learn to have less dependence on ourselves and the ways of this world. Paul stresses for us, that in our sufferings we find the glory of Christ’s all-sufficient grace magnified. God repeats for us each time, what He said to Paul in answer to the request to remove the thorn of suffering he was experiencing, “My grace is sufficient for you.” It is sufficient and beneficial because the power of Christ is given to us to overcome suffering. And that power is made perfect when we need it most – when our weaknesses are most exposed. So suffering is intended by God not only as a way to wean us off of self and onto grace, but also as a way to spotlight that grace and make it shine. That is exactly what faith does: it magnifies Christ’s grace in the future.
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