are we beginning to commend ourselves again? or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? you yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [2 corinthians 3:1-6]
marks of a messenger
paul’s defense of his position to the corinthian church is simple. he’s just the messenger. he’s not claiming to have written the message, he’s not looking for any sort of credit or gain for it, and he’s not even claiming to have earned the messenger title. so as we look to adopt this same bold humility, what are the marks of God’s messenger that we see?
- no recommendation needed- the work of the gospel is clear because of the obvious effect the gospel has on hearts who receive it. when people want proof that the message is valid, we have all the testimony we need.
- no credentials needed- we know we have done nothing to earn the title of messenger. we didn’t win the tryouts. we failed. miserably. so in humility, we can deliver a message of strength, power, and glory, knowing that it can stand alone, bringing glory to the Author, without our feeble attempts to help. his power is made perfect in our weakness, (2 cor 12:9) so we need only to joyfully obey.
- confidence in the Sender- we have seen and experienced the faithfulness of God in the forgiveness we have in Christ Jesus his Son, proven by the Spirit at work in our hearts, changing us into an altogether new creature. if he can breathe life into dry bones (ezek 37:1-140), we can be confident that we do not carry his message in vain.
- confidence in the message itself- we’ve seen the power of the gospel. we’ve seen its effect on our own heart of stone, we’ve seen its effect on those in our body, and we’ve seen its effect on those hurting in our own communities. so we can deliver the message boldly, without fear, trusting that with it, God will bring many sons to glory. (rom 1:16)
today, ask God to give you these qualities as a messenger, and then ask him to send you. into your family, into your workplace, into your neighborhood, into your school, into your group of friends, into your team, everywhere. we can’t just go. we must be sent – because God uses messengers to spread his glory to the world.