One of the greatest obstacles to applying the gospel to ourselves is our human tendency to depend on our own resources. We live in a world where we’re told our value is based on our abilities and potential, and if we fall short we consider ourselves failures. Paul demolishes this kind of thinking by providing his near perfect resume as a religious person and then calling it all “rubbish” compared to knowing Christ. What can we learn about true faith from Paul?
Verses 2-3 – The “dogs” who “mutilate the flesh” are teachers who taught that circumcision was necessary for salvation. They were saying Jesus + circumcision = everything. This was in direct contradiction Paul’s teaching of salvation by faith alone. In short, Jesus + nothing = everything.
Verses 4-6 Hebrew of Hebrews indicates his descent from Jewish ancestors and from the strictest religious sect – the Pharisees. The verses that follow are Paul’s prestigious credentials for religious boasting.
What can we learn from Paul’s heart and attitude in verses 1-11?
What does it mean in verse 15 when it says “let those of us who are mature think this way”? Based on the passage, how are mature Christians to think?
How can we really take the gospel and make it our own (v.12)? Please take a moment to pray through some ways you can really pursue Christ more in your daily walk.
2 Corinthians 3:1-6
This passage provides Paul an opportunity to demonstrate the contrast between the gospel and the prevailing cultural values of the time. Whereas the false teachers are concerned with external qualifications, Paul focuses on the internal heart change brought about by the Spirit. Whereas his opponents are concerned with self-commendation and boasting, Paul is characterized by a humble, simple presentation of the truth of the gospel in word and deed. The clash between the gospel and culture from the Corinthians are remarkably similar to our struggles today. As we read this passage, what can we learn about the power of the gospel?
Verse 1 – These rhetorical questions reveal Paul’s desire to challenge the false teachers’ tendencies to boast about themselves. His response to them is in verses 2-3.
What does it mean to be a letter of Christ? What is Paul talking about in verses 1-3?
How have we been made competent to be ministers of a new covenant (v.6)? How has God prepared us for this calling based on the passage?
How can we live as ministers of this new covenant? How can we take the blessings and convictions from retreat and really apply them to our daily lives? Please take some time and pray through being a minister of the gospel wherever God has called you.