to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
November 22, 2019 – Friday
2 Corinthians 10:1-6 NIV
1 By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away!
2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
This is a major change from how chapter nine ended. There are various theories on why the last four chapters are so different. The one I concur with is that Paul got an updated message from Corinth and did not like what was reported to him. Apparently there were opponents to Paul’s teaching claiming he was not really preaching and teaching in the Spirit. They may even have been Judaizers stating Paul was wrong and circumcision and other Jewish customs were required to be a follower of Jesus. So now Paul will begin to speak strongly against such reports, thoughts, and ideas.
He begins by stating For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. This is stated in today’s words, We are in the world, but not of the world. Pett says this about Paul’s reply It is a play on what his opponents are saying. Yes, he says, we do walk in human bodies, but it is not with those, or with fleshly aims and methods, that we fight the spiritual warfare. ‘We do not war according to the flesh.’ We do not fight as men do, or use fleshly weapons, or with fleshly purposes in mind. Our aims and our weapons are spiritual. Thus weapons like intimidation, manipulation, half truths, trickery, being double-tongued, and using hypocritical behaviour, all things of which Paul had been accused, are ineffective in spiritual warfare. In Ephesians 6 Paul provides a list of the spiritual weapons he used: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. These are weapons of faith for Paul and for all of us as well.
Paul goes on to say 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. This ties in closely with Proverbs 21:22 which says One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust. As Pett notes The stronghold was the strongpoint within a city that could continue to hold out even when the city had fallen. It was the last to fall and its fall indicated total victory. And there are many strongholds that have to be brought crashing down. The strongholds of men’s imaginations and (false) reasonings. The strongholds of men’s exalted opinions of themselves, and of their exaltation of themselves. The strongholds of high thoughts which are not really high thoughts at all, which claim superior knowledge of Christ but are not really in obedience to Christ, which claim special illumination by the Spirit, but are not of the Spirit at all. These he will bring down.
These personal strongholds are destroyed by divine power, that is God’s Word and prayer, not by the weapons of the world. It is by that divine power every thought can be made captive and obedient to Christ. These men espousing arguments against what Paul has taught cannot stand against God’s Word and the gospel of Jesus the Christ which is exactly what Paul brought to the Corinthians and nothing else. This is what he brought to them gently and humbly. Thus now Paul states without reservation And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. Paul is confident of victory because he is sure of the weapons at his disposal. These weapons will extinguish the false arguments of Paul’s and God’s enemy’s in Corinth. The Corinthians will return to obedience to God’s Word and the Gospel of Jesus. The punishment? God will take care of that as those seeking to divide and destroy the church slowly and surely slink away.
This is a good time to examine ourselves and ask if we are disobedient or if our obedience is complete. As the weekend is upon us, will we find a way to spend time with fellow believers or will we ignore God’s pull on us to join in corporate prayer, worship, and study of His Word? It is, as usual, our choice. What will we choose?
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)