Brief Words on 2 Corinthians 11-12

2 Corinthians 11‑12  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Christ's care of the church does not flow from prerogative only, but His care and tenderness are exercised over it. Christ nourishes and cherishes the church. The love we have to learn is not supremacy in love, but caring, as it were, for Himself. (Eph. v. 29) “No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ the church.”
The union of Christ with His body is the great secret of the church standing altogether. No man ever hated his own flesh. Hence we may as much reckon on His loving us under all circumstances, if we may so speak, as His loving Himself-it makes us understand the ground of the apostle's jealousy that we do nothing to grieve Christ. “I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy.” Think of Eve representing the church. It was Eve going out into new thoughts, &c., that led her astray. It is not by remaining ignorant of anything that is in Christ that gives us strength, but knowing all that is in Him.
Whatever is of the Spirit, that is to be learned: the great thing is to have the Spirit so in the soul that the superstructure will be borne. There are two ways to remedy it-by a foundation of deep grace, and by not building what can be shaken.
Verse 4. Or, “if ye receive another spirit.” They had received the Spirit. Where the glory of Jesus is, and the work of Jesus, there the Spirit is received: another Jesus means another gospel. There seems a great difference between Jesus as an object and the work of Jesus; for instance, my resurrection is not Jesus, my being pardoned by the Father is not Jesus, but it is by virtue of what Jesus has done or spoken. Now the Spirit is dwelling in us. And the Spirit of God makes us know His own mind, and be patient as to results; but I do find the immense importance of “another spirit.” It is the Spirit not only that acts on the believer, but he is possessed of it. Forasmuch as we are united to Christ, the Spirit must dwell in us; for union with Christ implies that His Spirit deigns to dwell there. It involves immense responsibility that the Spirit dwells in us. In Rom. 8 it is the work of the Spirit in us all through.
John 4. It is in him there shall be a spring, not showers on him; and then it shall flow out, because the well is there. It is not only looking for refreshing, but having the Spirit dwelling in us, the well in ourselves. We see two persons decided Christians: the one having the objects of faith before his eyes, and another living on his experience; the one is little advantage to the church, in the other there is great danger to himself. It requires a mind very rightly exercised to have both these things brought out. You will see where the Spirit of God is there will be much experience. “Search me, and try me.” I am convinced that the responsibilities of religion are not enough thought of. The life of Christ was an invariable life of responsibility. In measure, as we are in grace, we shall be in constant responsibility. “I was with you in much fear.” In proportion as we are in fear, we shall be blessed in our testimony. If we were more in the Spirit, we should feel the world more against us, and this would bring us into fear. It makes religion a personal thing, Jesus who is preached.
When the children of Israel had only two cities, they listened to all the curses and blessings, they did not wait till they got to Mounts Gerizim and Ebal. It is exactly the ground we should be on, only that the curse they had we have not-Christ having taken the curse. It is an unsanctified intellect that is the ground of all heresies. “When I am weak, then I am strong,” shows such complete identity with Christ. It is said that here is a prayer not given to his importunity. No; but an answer was given: “My grace is sufficient for thee.” I had rather have a buffet, and the Lord's grace. It is remarkable how a person that is spiritual judges himself-responsibility with the exercise of all love to the church. The Apostle Paul could not have gone through all these things unless he had a knowledge of paradise.
There is a positive evil in talking much of experience or thinking of self; it ought to be what is seen in us, or told of us, by others. We may occasionally glory for others' profit, but it is only some necessity in others that makes it allowable. The strength of the Christian comes from the privacy of communion with the Lord. To exercise itself with God is the thing in which the soul should be exercised; then what it has to speak of is God-His strength; but telling it for the sake of telling is breaking the intimacy of the soul with God, though there may be an unhealthful feeling of concealment in the mind.