Words of Faith 9-12-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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2 Corinthians 3
 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.  Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.  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.
Don't mistake the humility of Paul in this letter as a lack of confidence. Paul was more confident than ever! But Paul's confidence was founded not on human resources but on divine ones. He was confident in the Corinthians because the Holy Spirit had worked in them. Their faith rested on God's power. He had a confidence in his own sufficiency and competence in the ministry that was derived wholly from God. As Paul would later write to Timothy-- "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service" (1 Tim 1:12).
Paul knew absolutely that he was competent as a minister of the New Covenant. Paul's emphasis on the New Covenant in this chapter implies that his opponents were ministers of the Old Covenant. They were legalists or Judaizers of some sort trying to draw people back from grace into the Law.
Paul understood more clearly than anyone the difference between the Old and New Covenants. The Mosaic Covenant was a written revelation of the righteousness God asked of Israel. It was accepted with an oath of obedience and a blood sacrifice. When Israel was unable and unwilling to remain faithful to that covenant, God graciously intervened and promised a Covenant that was New both in time and in quality.
The New Covenant was inaugurated by Christ in His sacrifice on the cross. Jesus said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you" (Luke 22:20).
The New Covenant is entered into by faith, as Paul wrote to the Philippians-- "Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith" (Phil. 3:9).
The New Covenant is lived out in dependence on the Spirit-- "But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code... in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit" (Romans 7:6; 8:4).
Paul had a completely different kind of confidence. He knew that reliance on human rather than divine authority in letters of commendation was shortsighted and dangerous. Even more so was the attempt to fulfill God's righteousness apart from divine enablement.
Those who attempt to fulfill God's righteousness apart from grace find that the letter kills. As Paul wrote to the Romans-- "I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death" (7:10-11). But those who trust in Christ find that the Spirit gives life! "Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2).
Are you confident? You should be. You should be confident in the competency of God in You and His grace at work through you.
Father God, give me a holy boldness. Give me the confidence that comes from turning loose of my and surrendering to You. Give me the competence that only comes by the indwelling of Your Spirit. In Jesus' Name.