4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;2 Corinthians 3
6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Trust through Christ toward God
If we pay attention to how Paul words things in any of his epistles, it becomes apparent that he maintains a view of doing things either “in” Christ or “through” Christ. In this case, he’s talking about placing trust toward God “through” Christ. Not being placed “in Christ,” or “of Christ.”
“Through Christ” provokes thoughts of filtration, purification, or amplification. For example, how do you go through something such as a tunnel? You enter in from one end, and come out the other, right? Wouldn’t this mean that you’ve gone through the tunnel?
And when you run water through a filtration system, it goes in one way and comes out purified, right?
This could mean, that what we send the Father’s direction from ourselves, reaches Christ, goes through Christ, exits Christ, and comes out as something that is more pleasing or prepared for the Father.
Perhaps in certain ways, our own capacity to trust is similar to our own righteousness- as filthy rags in the eyes of the Lord. Christ’s righteousness with the Father is enormous compared to our own, as is his trust in the Father. As we need only enough righteous to cling on to that of Christ, maybe the same holds true regarding trust?
If we conduct a search through the New Testament, there are several different items that run “through” Christ, starting with us, and pointed at God Almighty, and sometimes, the other way around!
- Our Thanksgiving (Romans 1:8)
- Peace with God (Romans 5:1)
- Joy in the Lord (Romans 5:11)
- Alive unto God (Romans 6:11)
- Our Eternal Life- God’s Gift ( Romans 6:23)
- Victory through Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57)
- The blessings of Abraham to the Gentiles (Galatians 3:14)
- Sons and Heirs of God (Galatians 4:7)
- Peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7)
- We can do all things (Philippians 4:13)
- Mercy and Renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5-6)
- Being made Perfect in Every Good Work to do His Will (Hebrews 13:21)
- That we glorify God in all Things (1 Peter 4:11)
All of the above goes from us to the Father, or the Father to us, through Christ.
Difference between In and Through Christ
There are more references tucked within the pages, but I think you get the idea. While searching, you’ll find that there are a host of different things available being “in Christ.” In fact, you’ll find at least 78 occurrences in the New Testament, where the Holy Ghost talks about us being “in Christ.”
One thing that I noticed, is that “through Christ” often references the things that go back and forth between us and the Lord. “In Christ” tends to reference things that transpire between us and others, or how we conduct ourselves- not in every occurrence, but generally speaking.
Sidebar- I feel as if I’ve written about this in the past at length, but can’t seem to find what page it was. If I could remember, I’d make reference to it. If you’re one of the kind folks that have been taking this journey through the scriptures with me long enough to remember better than I, please let me know!
Our Sufficiency is of God
In the verses above (2 Cor. 3:4-6), Paul is recognizing that his ministry isn’t a product of anything of himself, but is of the Lord.
He is also giving recognition toward the fact that he wasn’t sufficient of himself as it related to what the Father had him doing. It was the Lord’s sufficiency that was getting things done despite their imperfections or stumbling.
Paul is giving credit to where it is due, and in the circumstance at hand, it is due to the Lord. Through Christ, Paul was placing his trust toward God; that God’s sufficiency would prevail for the cause of his own will.
Doing God’s Will
At the end of the day, this is where some doctrines get railroaded. If a ministry is not of the Lord, or isn’t doing the will of the Lord, then it’s doing the will of the ministers or operators- rather than the Lord. If any ministry can’t trust in the Lord’s sufficiency to do what the Lord would have us do, perhaps we’re not doing what the Lord wants in the first place?
This has nothing to do with finance, because there are a host of different religions out there that are very well financed. In fact, I wouldn’t think the “sufficiency” being evoked in this section would have much at all to do with material kinds of things.
I’d place the focus on the sufficiency to achieve results that coincide with the will of the Lord.
- Are people getting saved?
- Are people being increased in the knowledge of the Lord?
- Are lives being changed by the power of the Spirit of the Lord through Christ?
- Are hearts being touched, drawing others to crave more of the Father?
- Are people growing spiritually?
- Are people gaining in spiritual strength?
- Is the Father being glorified?
- Does the Word of the Lord take precedence over all other voices?
These are just a few items off the top of my head that I personally think about when doing anything within the scope of this ministry, and I’m just a guy on a computer. I know full well that I’m neither sufficient or worthy in and of myself to accomplish any of the above.
Yes, I know how to turn a computer on and start typing, but it’s the Lord that feeds the work, making what I’m doing sufficient to accomplish his will for the work. If any of the above items are achieved through anything I’ve written, it is by no means my doing.
The Father’s involvement should be simple common sense when it comes down to ministerial kinds of things. Unfortunately, mankind has a way of muddying up the waters, placing emphasis on all the wrong things, and losing focus. Ministries are no exception.
The New Testament
No, Paul wasn’t talking about the latter half of the Bible. He was talking about the literal new testament. It isn’t all that new anymore, having been around for a couple thousand years, but it is no less important. In fact, it’s everything!
The Father is spirit, and we must worship him in spirit and in truth, and his Holy Spirit makes this possible through Christ. Christ Jesus is the one who fulfilled the old letter (or the laws of Moses), and opened up the new way of doing things, through him.
The old letter that Paul is making reference to, required one to be perfect in every way in order to not be found guilty by it. That’s why there were so many different opportunities to atone and make sacrifices to cover over sin- because they had to in order to not be found guilty by the law.
It took God to come as a man, in order for someone be qualified to fulfill the law, and (in my opinion), the law was structured so that nobody would be able to fulfill it completely without being Christ- God come in the flesh.
This becoming one of many different ways we can determine that Jesus is the real deal, and not a fraud. That he was perfect in all the law since birth, something that nobody else in all creation could boast.
Making us able Ministers
When God chooses ministers, his will is being implemented through the hands of those he’s made able. I wonder how many ministers we have out there that God has chosen?
Further, I wonder how many are out that that he hasn’t? I’d suppose that we’d be able to discern between the two by their fruits. The Lord has created all of us with a particular call, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve answered it the way we should.
Some people are ministers that shouldn’t have been, but should be in a different line of service. On the other hand, there’s people out there doing something different, when the Lord’s will for them is to be a minister.
It is the Lord that makes us able ministers, rather than just ministers. Being moved by the Spirit of the Lord, we become able ministers of the new testament which is spiritually evident, rather than that of the old which was physically evident.
In Christ Jesus we have a different idea of what life is while we’re here. Through Christ we have an understanding of the life that is to come after we’re done with this body of flesh, and receive the promise of the Spirit- renewed and glorified bodies.
It is the Father that makes us able, and has made all of this possible. And all of the credit, glory, praise, and focus, belongs to him for it.
If we’ve only got a little bit of faith, Jesus compensates. If we’ve only got a little bit of trust in the Father, Jesus compensates in our behalf.
But we need at least enough faith and trust in the Lord Jesus to be the High Priest in this matter, and do what a High Priest does- take our matters to the Father. Through the Spirit of the Lord, and his Word, we gain in both of these departments through time.
Whatever the case may be, the Lord will grant to us what is sufficient, to get the job done according to his will, whatever that job may be. When he does this, it is our responsibility to remember our proper place in all of this, and to also remember the Lord’s proper place.
We’re the beneficiaries of his work, and we’re unable to do his will without his aid. As the Word says, “without him we can do nothing.”
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- Daily Inspiration from Proverbs 25 P. 383 – What is Sufficient
- The Lord is that Spirit – 2 Corinthians 3 Part 6
- Daily Inspiration from Proverbs 31 P. 496 – Can God Trust You?
- Daily Renewal in Christ – 2 Corinthians 4 Part 8
- Daily Inspiration from Proverbs 16 P. 219 – Find Good