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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 10 - Verse 18

Verse 18. For not he who commendeth himself, etc. Not he who boasts of his talents and endowments. He is not to be judged by the estimate which he shah place on himself, but by the estimate which God shall form and express.

Is approved. By God. It is no evidence that we shall be saved that we are prone to commend ourselves. See Ro 12:10.

But whom the Lord commendeth. See Barnes "Ro 2:29".

The idea here is, that men are to be approved or rejected by God. He is to pass judgment on them, and that judgment is to be in accordance with his estimate of their character, and not according to their own. If he approves them, they will be saved; if he does not, vain will be all their empty boasting—vain all their reliance on their wealth, eloquence, learning, or earthly honours. None will save them from condemnation; not all these things can purchase for them eternal life. Paul thus seriously shows that we should be mainly anxious to obtain the Divine favour. It should be the grand aim and purpose of our life; and we should repress all disposition for vain-glory or self-confidence; all reliance on our talents, attainments, or accomplishments for salvation. OUR BOAST IS THAT WE HAVE SUCH A REDEEMER; AND IN THAT WE ALL MAY GLORY.

{b} "whom the Lord commendeth"

 

REMARKS on 2nd Corinthians Chapter 10

(1.) We should have no desire to show off any peculiar boldness or energy of character which we may have, 2 Co 10:1,2. We should greatly prefer to evince the gentleness and meekness of Christ. Such a character is in itself of far more value than one that is merely energetic and bold; that is rash, authoritative, and fond of display.

(2.) They who are officers in, the church should have no desire to administer discipline, 2 Co 10:2. Some men are so fond of power, that they always love to exercise it. They are willing to show it even by inflicting punishment on others; and, "dressed in a little brief authority," they are constantly seeking occasion to show their consequence; they magnify trifles; they are unwilling to pass by the slightest offences. The reason is not that they love the truth, but that they love their own consequence, and they seek every opportunity to show it.

(3.) All Christians and all Christian ministers are engaged in a warfare, 2 Co 10:3. They are at war with sin in their own hearts, and with sin wherever it exists on earth, and with the powers of darkness. With foes so numerous and so vigilant, they should not expect to live a life of ease or quietness. Peace, perfect peace, they may expect in heaven, not on earth. Here they are to fight the good fight of faith, and thus to lay hold on eternal life. It has been the common lot of all the children of God to maintain such a war, and shall we expect to be exempt? \-

Shall I be carried to the skies

On flowery beds of ease,

While others fought to win the prize,

And sailed through bloody seas ?

 

Are there no foes for me to face—

Must I not stem the flood?

Is this vile world a friend to grace,

To help me on to God?"

(4.) The weapons of the Christian are not to be carnal, but are to be spiritual, 2 Co 10:4. He is not to make his way by the exhibition of human passion; in bloody strife; and by acting under the influence of ambitious feelings. Truth is his weapon; and armed with truth, and aided by the Spirit of God, he is to expect the victory. How different is the Christian warfare from others! How different is Christianity from other systems! Mohammed made his way by arms, and propagated his religion amidst the din of battle. But not so Christianity. That is to make its way by the silent, but mighty operation of truth; and there is not a rampart of idolatry and sin that is not yet to fall before it.

(5.) The Christian should be a man of a pure spirit, 2 Co 10:4. He is to make his way by the truth. He should therefore love the truth, and he should seek to diffuse it as far as possible. In propagating or defending it, he should be always mild, gentle, and kind. Truth is never advanced, and an adversary is never convinced, where passion is evinced; where there is a haughty manner, or a belligerent spirit. The apostolic precepts are full of wisdom—speaking the truth in love," Eph 4:15; "in MEEKNESS INSTRUCTING those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth," 2 Ti 2:25.

(6.) In his warfare, the Christian shall conquer, 2 Co 10:4,5. Against the truth of Christianity nothing has been able to stand. It made its way against the arrayed opposition of priests and emperors; against customs and laws; against inveterate habits and opinions; against all forms of sin, until it triumphed, and "the banners of the faith floated from the palaces of the Caesars." So it will be in all the conflicts with evil. Nothing is more certain than that the powers of darkness in this world are destined to fall before the power of Christian truth, and that every stronghold of sin shall yet be demolished. So it is in the conflicts of the individual Christian. He may struggle long and hard. He may have many foes to contend with. But he shall gain the victory. His triumph shall be secure; and he shall yet be enabled to say, "I have fought a good fight— henceforth there is laid up for me a CROWN"

"The saints in all this glorious war

Shall conquer, though they die;

They see the triumph from afar,

And seize it with their eye."

(7.) Yet all should feel their dependence on God, 2 Co 10:4. It is only through him, and by his aid, that we have any power. Truth itself has no power except as it is attended and directed by God; and we should engage in our conflict feeling that none but God can give us the victory. If forsaken by him, we shall fall; if supported by him, we may face without fear a "frowning world," and all the powers of the "dark world of hell."

(8.) We should not judge by the outward appearance, 2 Co 10:7. It is the heart that determines the character; and by that God shall judge us, and by that we should judge ourselves.

(9.) We should aim to extend the gospel as far as possible, 2 Co 10:14-16. Paul aimed to go beyond the regions where the gospel had been preached, and to extend it to far-distant lands. So the "field" still "is the world." A large portion of the earth is yet unevangelized. Instead, therefore, of sitting down quietly in enjoyment and ease, let us, like him, earnestly desire to extend the influence of pure religion, and to bring distant nations to the saving knowledge of the truth.

(10.) Let us not boast in ourselves, 2 Co 10:17. Not of our talents, wealth, learning, or accomplishments let us glory. But let us glory that we have such a God as JEHOVAH. Let us glory that we have such a Redeemer as Jesus Christ. Let us glory that we have such a sanctifier as the Holy Spirit. Let us acknowledge God as the Source of all our blessings, and to him let us honestly consecrate our hearts and our lives.

(11.) What a reverse of judgment there will yet be on human character! 2 Co 10:17,18. How many now commend themselves who will be condemned in the last day! How many men boast of their talents and morals, and even their religion, who will then be involved in indiscriminate condemnation with the most vile and worthless of the race! How anxious should we be, therefore, to secure the approbation of God! and whatever our fellow-men may say of us, how infinitely desirable is it to be commended then by our heavenly Father!

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