2 Cor. 12: 7- 9 For even if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I would be telling the truth, but I refrain from this so that no one may regard me beyond what he sees in me or what he hears from me, even because of the extraordinary character of the revelations. Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me - so that I would not become arrogant. I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.
It has always been a problem for preachers and teachers to overcome those who would 'tear them down'. Sometimes, one even has to mount a defense when others fail to do so.
I know of a man who has had other preachers criticize his ministry and doubt his calling, put obstacles in his way, talk behind his back, turn others away from using the man and finally ignore his effectiveness and hide it from the church! That man says, "I feel like every time my light shines forth, some put a cover over it. They do this to their own peril! My ministry is given to me by my lord, Jesus and powered by the Holy Spirit!"
The Apostle Paul was forced to defend himself and his authority because many of the Corinthians believed the lies of false teachers. In the previous verses he detailed what he had endured for the preaching and teaching work of a missionary. He spoke of this in...
Read 2 Cor. 12: 2-6
In verse 7, Paul continues by telling of his, "thorn in the flesh", that was given him to keep him from becoming arrogant. In verses 7 and 8, Paul tells us that he asked God to remove it three times.
Now we come to verse 9. Let's research the meaning together.
God says that His "grace is sufficient";
His "power is made perfect in weakness."
Paul did not hesitate to ask God to remove his affliction. Three times, he "confidently approached the throne of grace", hoping to receive mercy. However, God had other plans, instead of removing the 'thorn', He would support Paul in his affliction and demonstrate His power in Paul's "weakness."
Let's look at some verses that talk about 'grace'.
2 Cor. 1-12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
Grace is intended for the keeping of good conscience in view of our conduct toward others.
2 Cor. 9: 8 And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may have an abundance for every good work.
Grace from God gives us all that we need to do all good works, ordained by God.
Romans 6: 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Grace from God, makes us free from the dominion of sin and of the Law.
Romans 15: 15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on [some] points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God,
Grace from God gives us the authority to speak frankly regarding spiritual matters and matters of doctrine.
Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.
Our High Priest knows exactly what we are going through. Go before the throne! God fully expects His children to depend on Him, instead of themselves, at all times! If you only ask Him to show you, you will see how God uses your weaknesses to demonstrate His power!
You've been given grace that abounds. You are not bound by sin. Quit worrying about your past sins or your future sins. You have been declared not guilty before God and by God. Today has enough worries of it's own. You have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. Your robes are spotless in God's eyes! You are a child of the Covenant of Grace by God! You have been forgiven through all eternity! Who says? God says! Get thee behind me Satan, I will not listen to you anymore!
("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)