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.
In these verses we read that 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 (1 Cor. 2:1–5). Likewise, his own sufficiency and competence in the ministry was derived wholly from God (cf. 1 Tim. 1:12). Furthermore, Paul’s emphasis on the New Covenant implies that his opponents were ministers of the Old Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant was a written revelation of the righteousness God asked of Israel (e.g., Ex. 19–23). It was accepted with an oath of obedience and a blood sacrifice (Ex. 24). When Israel proved unable and unwilling to remain faithful to that covenant, God graciously intervened and promised a New Covenant (Jer. 31:31–34; 32:40), new (kainēs) both in time and in quality. It was inaugurated by Christ in His sacrifice on the cross (Luke 22:20), and is entered into by faith (Phil. 3:9) and lived out in dependence on the Spirit (Rom. 7:6; 8:4).
In the same way, our confidence is not based on our own works, deeds or actions. Instead it is based on the work done on the cross by Jesus which is entered into by faith and lived out in dependence on the Holy Spirit. So whenever you feel overwhelmed and not sure how you will deal with a situation, take comfort in the fact that your confidence is not based on you, but in Christ and the Holy Spirit.
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 someone you may know who is in need of physical healing.