5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.
Today’s verse forms part of the overall pericope entitled ‘Ministers of the New Covenant’. The main issue in this pericope stems from the fact that Paul’s opponents (false prophets) preached a gospel that served their own selfish and greedy motifs which resulted in them profiting from the gospel (1 Pet. 5:2 and 1 Cor. 1:12).
Aware of the tactics of his opponents, Paul realized that his swipe at the false apostles (namely questioning the legitimacy of the letters they carried with them to endorse their authority – which was a first-century custom) might be turned against him since they might counter-argue Paul has no one to endorse him except himself. In light of such a possible charge Paul explains, he does not have to carry a letter with him from someone who endorses. Instead, Paul’s letter of endorsement can be examined by everybody. His letter was the Corinthians themselves. And they were a letter written by the Spirit of the living God dispatched by Christ Himself. The false apostles’ commendation was human; Paul’s was divine.
The letter written by the Spirit was the new covenant Paul is referring to and each believer shares in the freedom that the new covenant brings. The old is gone, the new is here. In Christ, we can live a new life and with the help of the Spirit, we can defeat our giants and struggles and become more like Christ. The freedom we experience in Christ isn’t based on our own competency but in God.
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage
- How will you respond/apply God’s Word today?
- Whom will you share with today’s passage or takeaway?
Today, take a moment, wherever you are, to PAUSE in God’s presence. Find a spot where you can stop and be quiet for a minute.