not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, [2 corinthians 3:5]
one of truest expressions of beauty we have as Christians is to witness the scripture scale the highest heights and penetrate the deepest mysteries using no more than common, everyday speech. 2 corinthians 3:5 demands no exposition, no scholarship to comprehend – it only looks the reader squarely in the eye and draws its distinction, separating sheep from goat, scoffer from humble, those who are consumed by the love of God in Christ Jesus, and those are still consumed with themselves. the verse either causes rejoicing because you know the same God given sufficiency paul claims, or you can at best stand at a distance to admire and praise the deed, without being able to understand it. which are you?
the deed is not merely an admission of humility in light of God’s sovereignty, (*prov 20:24) or a boast thinly veiled in self-deprecation, it is laying hold of the very power of God and claiming it lives in you, controlling you. this seems crazy. this seems as if we have altogether lost all sense of what is sane. but, we have not! to revere the power of God at a distance is simple enough even for the pagan to excel in, but to claim that power as living in you, that is the unique mark of Christian faith that always bears the possibility of offense. (**matt 11:6)
do not miss this; paul’s claim is more than a passive acknowledgement of God’s constant hand, it is the Spirit swallowing our sinful nature and pleasing God through us. (***rom 8:8-11) it is monstrous and (to use marc’s word) scandalous, no thought can grasp this.
spend some time and consider this verse. you will know quickly whether you have the Spirit of Christ in you, controlling you. for you either know this sufficiency by experience, or the more you scrutinize it the stranger and more elusive the truth will appear. in either case, our impending action is the same, come humbly before the LORD to praise his power, and boldly ask for the faith that will make His power our own, living in us, controlling us.
* a man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way? [proverbs 20:24]
** and blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” [matthew 11:6]
*** those who are in the flesh cannot please God. you, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. but if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. [romans 8:8-11]
~ graham bachman