9 I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.”
Paul wrote these two verses, which forms part of a larger argument, as an anticipated defense towards the accusations of his opponents (mainly Jews) at previous points in the letter (3:1, 7–18; 4:2–4; 5:12, 16; 6:14). These false teachers proclaimed and urged the circumcision of Gentiles and obedience to the Law of Moses (Acts 15:5). In addition, they proclaimed legalistic righteousness based on external conformity to Mosaic legislation (3:7–15). Such a message from the false teachers ultimately resulted in self-serving, seeking monetary gains from the Corinthians (2:17) and possibly also indulging in sensuality (12:21). Knowing all of this, Paul writes these two verses saying even though it might sound weighty, forceful and even scary, the Corinthians need to heed to his words for salvation is not based on legalism or circumcision, but in the cross itself.
Similarly, we also need to be vigilant not to fall into a legalistic trap. It might not have so much bearing on our initial salvation per se, but perhaps we may think if I read my Bible more or pray more, God will help me pass my test or help me get this amazing job. We don’t earn God’s grace or favour based on what we can do for him. We already earned his grace because he first loved us. It is now from this place of immeasurable gratitude that we now want to offer a holy life to God. Not because of what we can get from Him, but because of what we already received from him – eternal salvation – what a gift!
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Pray for the persecuted Church, our brothers and sisters across the world who are made to suffer because they are Christian.