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2 Corinthians 4:13–14

“Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.”

Far from invalidating Paul’s claim to Apostleship, the suffering that Paul endured as he preached the gospel and planted churches actually confirmed his call. His suffering highlighted his frailty, making it all the more evident that the power of salvation at work in the Corinthians was God’s alone (2 Cor. 4:7–12). Since the job of an Apostle—indeed, the job of all believers—is to point people to the grace and power of God (1 Cor. 1:18–25; Col. 1:24–28), Paul’s evident weakness as seen in his suffering made it plain that the life at work in the Corinthians was not from him but from God.

Nevertheless, although the power of God through Jesus Christ is what brought life to the Corinthians, this power came to them in and through Paul. In other words, the Apostle was the means through which the Lord brought His saving grace to bear in the Corinthian Christians, not through the worth of Paul himself but through the gospel that he spoke. That seems to be the point of today’s passage. The Apostle first notes that he possesses the same “spirit of faith” that results from the life at work in the Corinthians. In other words, the vivifying power of God that came to the Corinthians in and through the ministry of Paul and his companions as they suffered for the gospel was also at work in the Apostle and his ministry partners to grant them faith. Of course, this is because faith itself comes by the power of the Holy Spirit, who operates in all God’s elect. John Calvin notes that Paul “gives the name of the spirit of faith to faith itself, because it is a gift of the Holy Spirit.”

From this faith of Paul came his motivation for speaking, and he quotes from Psalm 116:10 to tie his ministry of suffering back to his call to preach Christ. Psalm 116 celebrates the psalmist’s deliverance from certain death by God, granting the author the will and confidence to proclaim his salvation. In a similar way, Jesus saved Paul from certain eternal death when He appeared to him on the Damascus road, giving him the will and confidence to proclaim his salvation (Acts 9:1–31). Paul’s rescue from hell drove the Apostle to hold out Christ as the Savior who will redeem from God’s wrath all who believe in Jesus alone. This ties back to 2 Corinthians 4:1–6 and Paul’s emphasis on preaching Jesus, not himself, for the sake of salvation. Moreover, as we have seen, Paul could preach and suffer because he knew he would one day be raised from the dead (v. 14). The pain would be worth it because it would pass and he would live forever.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

God’s saving us from the surety of eternal death is a powerful motivation for us to proclaim the gospel. If God has saved us and if we know that He will do the same for all who believe in Jesus, how can we not speak of the Savior to others? Let us ask the Lord to give us greater thankfulness for our salvation so that we may be even bolder in our gospel witness.

For Further Study
  • 2 Samuel 22
  • Psalm 51:10–13
  • Mark 5:1–20
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:2–10

Ministering Spirits to Serve Us

Increasing Thanksgiving to God’s Glory

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From the September 2021 Issue
Sep 2021 Issue