God’s Heart Echo
Paul begs the Corinthian believers not to make him be bold and discipline them. Paul realizes he is fighting a war, but not a regular war—a war against the crooked, corrupt thinking and worldviews of those who set themselves up against God and his truth.
People are influencing the church in Corinth to think that Paul isn’t measuring up as an apostle. Paul compares the church to a runaway bride, eyeing someone other than Jesus as a groom. They are being deceived by the so-called “super-apostles.” These men, who aren’t apostles at all, are teaching the Corinthians a gospel different from the one Paul teaches. Very likely, they are teaching the false gospel that salvation is earned by works.
The false apostles want boasting, so Paul gives them boasting—of a different kind. He boasts about his floggings, beatings and weaknesses. God didn’t even take the thorn in his flesh away. But God’s grace is sufficient for him. And although Paul has had incredible spiritual experiences, it’s God’s grace that is most important to him.
Paul is going to visit the believers in Corinth again not for his own glory, but so he can build them up. He wants them to grow in their relationship with God, and if he has to be weak for them to do that, so be it. Because it’s all about Jesus.
The King’s Heart
Paul loved the Corinthian church with a godly jealousy. He longed for them to grow in Jesus so badly that if he had to be brought low to ensure that it happens, he would. He had endured countless hardships for the churches he established. He had never taken any money from the Corinthians because he wanted them to know that the good news was free.
Jesus also loves us fiercely. He was brought low in order that we could be lifted up—he gave his life so we could live. Although he paid a high price for our salvation, he offers it to us tenderly, as a free gift. Jesus is passionately jealous for us to grow more and more in maturity so that we live in more and more freedom. No wonder God chose Paul to spread his Good News. Paul is an echo of his loving heart.
The “super-apostles” were preaching a different Jesus than the Jesus Paul preached (see 2 Corinthians 11:4). They were arrogantly boasting, they wanted flashy spiritual experiences so they could brag about them and they charged payment for their “professional” services. Paul didn’t just discredit these super-apostles; he called them servants of Satan (see 2 Corinthians 11:13–15).