and what i am doing i will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. for such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. and no wonder, for even satan disguises himself as an angel of light. so it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. their end will correspond to their deeds. [2 corinthians 11:12-15]
the gospel undermines lies.
when someone comes at you with a clever argument against your faith or makes a bold accusation that your christianity is racist, sexist, hurtful or not enough, what happens to you?
does your blood pressure rise, do you feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up, do you get angry or frustrated or wordy? do you want to fight? do you want to tweet or text or cry?
paul does none of these things–he knows that the gospel stands for itself, that Jesus’ work was sufficient for all arguments at all times. paul knows that satan tempted Jesus for 40 days in the wilderness [matthew 4:1-11], what we would not have withstood for even an hour without sinning, Jesus withstood for 40 days with little sleep and no food. he knows that satan will use frustration, tiredness, hunger in order to tempt us to sin, and in all of those moments, we must turn to Christ.
don’t abuse this passage–be slow to call others deceitful workmen: if you have not taken a step back and examined yourself when criticized, then perhaps you have departed from the truth and have begun to believe things that aren’t true–if you have picked up worldliness or have believed false doctrine, this is the time to turn back!
examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. test yourselves. or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! [2 corinthians 13:5]
if we have truly examined ourselves (and allowed for others to examine us) then make sure there is a standard by which we call people out of darkness–of course this is scripture!
all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. [2 timothy 3:16-17]
paul emphasizes that the super-apostles words do not accord with scripture, they do not work on the same terms that paul does. they do not practice righteousness, they do not accept correction.
today: examine yourself–
what are your motives, are you seeking your own glory and status, or the Glory of God?
what is your standard–your politics? your dignity/pride? or God’s word?
forgive me when i get frustrated with people out of my own pride. let me be about your glory. let my life be a continuous reliance on you and a continuous magnifying the cross of Christ and his finished work. i know that it isn’t me and my arguments that are responsible for undermining lies, but it is the gospel that exposes the truth, so let the gospel be on my lips. i want justice now, but i know that you will have justice ultimately, and that those who practice deception will meet an end that corresponds to their deeds. let me not be among the deceivers, let me daily examine myself that i might be found in you. amen.