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My Grace Is Sufficient

II Corinthians 12 & 13

I think I identify with Paul so much in this book because this past term we have been so aware of our weakness.  No, I wasn't caught up into heaven or anything like that!  But so many things happened where all we could do was cry out, "God, help us!"  And as we admitted our weakness, He stepped in in His power.

Paul continues with his defense, explaining how the Corinthians can know he is a true apostle.  He relates an experience where he was caught up into heaven (he cannot explain how this happened, just that it did) where he saw things he cannot describe in human words.  

Since God knew he might brag about this experience, He gave Paul a "thorn in the flesh" to remind him of his dependence on God.  He asks for God to remove it, but God says, "My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness."  Paul found this to be true.  When he was weak, then God was strong.

Paul reminds them that he is coming to visit them.  He says he doesn't want to find them living in sin as that would break his heart.  He doesn't want the stress of dealing with their fighting and sin, but wants to be able to enjoy his visit with them.  Test yourselves, says Paul.  Are you living as a true Christian or are you living in sin?  Are you living by your own strength or by God's strength?

Jesus allowed himself to be crucified, showing strength in his absolute weakest hours in which he submitted to a cruel death.  It was by God's mighty power he rose again and that power is still at work today.  We see the paradox principle here again:  when I am weak, I am strong.  N T Wright says, 
God's power and human power are not only not the same thing; often the second has to be knocked out of the way altogether for the first to shine through as God desires and intends.
 And one final note:  according to this reading, there is a place for judgment within a church.  I think that our society has judgment and being judgmental mixed up.  Being judgmental is pride, arrogance, and being unkind.  Judging sin requires humility and courage and is done for the purpose of restoration.

And that wraps up II Corinthians.  This sort of series is different from my usual blogging, but it's been helpful to me to write all this out.  In conclusion, here are two graphics I found that help sum up the book.

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