You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we. For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame,”
What a charged word.
Like justice or mercy, we think of it differently when we need it or when we want to dish it out.
As Paul is making his plea here to the rich Corinthian church, he is all at once affirming that he does have authority over each and every one of them, while at the same time redefining what that means. Yes, I have authority over all of you, he says, but I don’t think it means what you think it means.
The authority Paul has was God-given. Oh boy. That gives it even more punch. If he says he has God-given authority, you can’t even argue with it, can you? It’s a done deal.
But that authority is given by God, to Paul, in order to build up the people in the church of Corinth, not to destroy them. His job — even better his calling — is to wield that authority by building them up in the Lord.
Increasing their faith.
Building up their hope.
Instilling their confidence in Jesus Christ alone.
And that is his authority. In the midst of that, he’s also cautioning them about who they consider to be a Christian. If you consider yourselves Christians, remember that I am a follower of Christ too. They were slandering, gossiping, and otherwise throwing Paul under the bus.
Again, it’s a big guide for us. As you see someone struggling, sinning, falling, and failing…remember your authority.
You have authority in Christ to take care of those sinning Christians.
But not to destroy them. Your authority comes the same as it was for Paul. Even if you’re slandered, degraded, gossipated, and bus thrown. The light of the Gospel of Christ shows when we show off His redemption. We weren’t given this superpower of faith and forgiveness in order to destroy people. We destroy strongholds as we build up the people for whom Christ died.
We use it to build up one another in Christ. It’s the best care and service we can do. It’s the way He has led us.
You can get the Daily Bible Readings to your inbox via email every day by subscribing on our home page. Join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter.