Lord, may my devotion to You be a fragrant offering today.
Read 2 Corinthians 2:12—3:6
Ministers of the New Covenant
12 Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13 I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.
3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectMake a short list of the people you see on a regular basis. What is your influence on them?
The greatest honor that could be bestowed on a Roman citizen was a triumph. A victorious military leader would be allowed to proceed through Rome displaying the spoils of war, exotic caged wild animals, captives taken from foreign lands including kings and princes and, of course, the legions of soldiers sharing in their general’s triumph. These processions were amazing spectacles and could be miles long. For Roman leaders there could be no greater affirmation than this. As the triumph proceeded, sacrifices would be made to the gods. Roman citizens rejoiced as incense filled the air. The very same smell reminded the captives that many of them would be ceremonially killed just like the sacrificed animals (2:15,16).
This passage asks the question, what is the source of Paul’s authority? How is he affirmed or vindicated? Who commends him? His answer is that God alone affirms his ministry (3:6). We march in Christ’s triumphal procession as committed soldiers. Any validation or status we have derives from our victorious General, not ourselves.
For Paul the ultimate vindication of his ministry is the changed lives of the people who had benefited from his ministry (3:2), not any boast of his.
Take confidence before God through Christ (3:4). You are on the winning side! How can God’s work in your life lead others to share in Christ’s triumph? Can you share your story with someone?
Thank You, my King, that You have won the victory. Have Your way in me today.
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