Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Marks of ministry

I was much struck this morning reading 2 Corinthians 6, and Paul’s marks of his own ministry in verses 4-10.  I think they’re helpfully broken up like this:

… as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way:

  •  by great endurance,

 in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger;  

  • by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love;  

  • by truthful speech, and the power of God;

[as servants of God we commend ourselves] with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 

  • through honour and dishonour,

through slander and praise.

[as servants of God] We are treated
  • as impostors, and yet are true;  

  • as unknown, and yet well known;

  • as dying, and behold, we live;

  • as punished, and yet not killed; 

  • as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;

  • as poor, yet making many rich;

  • as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

It’s interesting that the ESV (and the NASB) reads that Paul is treated as unknown, as dying, as sorrowful etc – when in fact the opposite is true from a divine perspective.  On this reading, he isn’t sorrowful, but merely regarded as sorrowful – as if others are saying ‘How can a man who lives like that possibly be anything else?’

I haven't worked through the implications of all this, though much of what he says is true of every faithful minister of the gospel.

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