Notes of Readings: 2 Corinthians 10-11

2 Corinthians 10‑11  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
In the last chapters, the Apostle sought to produce liberality by the grace known in Christ. Here (ch. 10.) he puts down everything high by the meekness and gentleness of Christ. It is another instance of the immense power the Holy Ghost gains by presenting Christ, counting on something in the heart of a saint to answer to Him. It is Christ for everything-be it encouraging, producing, or suppressing, v. 2; when flesh comes in, and people walk in it, they suppose others do. The flesh is in each-both are in the flesh in one sense-the difference is that Paul was not walking according to it, making it a rule. Instead of warring after the flesh, he brings in weapons to the pulling of it all down.
Am I conscious of having pulled down some stronghold in myself? It is no use accepting what others see to be characteristic of us. Either my thoughts are unbridled and carry me into captivity, or else I must be near Christ and carry my thoughts into captivity. It is a wonderfully fine pursuit, to go after one's thoughts thus in the power of the Holy Ghost, knowing what would bring them into captivity to, as well as how. By the Holy Ghost we gain the mastery over ourselves.
It is not the sufferings of Christ now, but the example of what the believer's heart has known in Him. It is, do this; or, do not do that; but grace that would conform to what we see in Him, so as not to have a thought contrary to Him. And this before he brings in Apostolic authority. He will not produce the rod unless forced to it.
Verse 7 contains a wonderful principle. Grace puts on the same level, or rather the same height, for it takes us off the low level. " He is Christ's "-that is a wonderful elevation. Judging of things by the outward appearance is the ruin of us. God chooses a vessel whose bodily presence was weak, that the excellency of the power might be of God.
Verse 12.-If God has distributed a measure, our happiness is to be within that measure, and not stretch ourselves beyond it, comparing ourselves with others. He opens the heart by Christ, as at the beginning of the chapter, " I beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ"-and stops it by the authority of the Lord, blocking up all rebelliousness at the end by, " not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth."
Chapter 11 proves it is folly to turn to self even in the highest character of service. Paul will surpass all others, and yet not shine himself. It is " the simplicity that is in Christ," not what man elevates himself by. Corinth was a wonderfully dangerous place-full of fleshly wisdom. The chaste virgin was in danger of losing her simplicity in such a scene. If Christ is God's wisdom, by their refusing Christ, God is obliged to make foolish their wisdom. The Cross is the very point where God has taken the wise in their own craftiness, and where He makes foolish the wisdom of this world. Many accept Christ as their righteousness who do not accept Him as their wisdom.
The positive things are always put first. We reach the spring-head of everything good and bad. The first remove is losing the simplicity that is in Christ. The " epistle" of chap. 3 was for all men; the "chaste virgin" is for the delight of Christ. The Apostle has a godly jealousy over her. He has the whole Church in view, only it was true for them. He had a wonderful love for these Corinthians, I think, because they did not deserve it; looking out for something it could shelter and cover. That is the character of Christ's love.
Satan is sure to come out in some new way, to answer to the new way that God presents Himself to us. Satan was against man in Eden, seeking to enrich himself in the spoils of the ruined one. So with Jerusalem (Ezek. 16; 25:3, 26:2). He is powerless until what God has enriched proves faithless to Him. It is so with the Church here. Satan was seeking to corrupt it, and to provoke the Lord to spue it out of His mouth, in order to replenish himself out of its apostasy. Thus what will not do for God, will just do for Satan. This makes this chapter very solemn. Satan comes in as an "angel of light," and Paul "fears," is "jealous," etc. It is a terrible chapter for the present day-the activity of ministers, etc. We had the true ministry, now we have the false (vv. 13-15), the colored artifice of the devil. It is the subtlety of Satan, if it is not the simplicity of Christ. " He preserveth the simple." Then he spews what a fool the brightest man upon earth makes of himself, if he glories in aught but the Lord,