|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-11 Even the appearance of self-praise and courting human applause, is painful to the humble and spiritual mind. Nothing is more delightful to faithful ministers, or more to their praise, than the success of their ministry, as shown in the spirits and lives of those among whom they labour. The law of Christ was written in their hearts, and the love of Christ shed abroad there. Nor was it written in tables of stone, as the law of God given to Moses, but on the fleshy (not fleshly, as fleshliness denotes sensuality) tables of the heart, Eze 36:26. Their hearts were humbled and softened to receive this impression, by the new-creating power of the Holy Spirit. He ascribes all the glory to God. And remember, as our whole dependence is upon the Lord, so the whole glory belongs to him alone. The letter killeth: the letter of the law is the ministration of death; and if we rest only in the letter of the gospel, we shall not be the better for so doing: but the Holy Spirit gives life spiritual, and life eternal. The Old Testament dispensation was the ministration of death, but the New Testament of life. The law made known sin, and the wrath and curse of God; it showed us a God above us, and a God against us; but the gospel makes known grace, and Emmanuel, God with us. Therein the righteousness of God by faith is revealed; and this shows us that the just shall live by his faith; this makes known the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ, for obtaining the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The gospel so much exceeds the law in glory, that it eclipses the glory of the legal dispensation. But even the New Testament will be a killing letter, if shown as a mere system or form, and without dependence on God the Holy Spirit, to give it a quickening power.
Verse 4. - Such trust. The confidence, namely, that we need no other recommendation to or from you. Through Christ. Who alone can inspire such confidence in myself and my mission (1 Corinthians 15:10). To God-ward; i.e. in relation to God; towards whom the whole Being of Christ is directed (John 1:1), and therefore all the work of his servants (Romans 5:1).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And such trust have we,.... This refers to what he had said in the latter end of the foregoing chapter, and the beginning of this; as that they made manifest the savoury knowledge of God and Christ everywhere, and were the sweet savour of Christ to many souls; were sufficient in some measure, through the grace of Christ, to preach the Gospel sincerely and faithfully, and were attended with success, had many seals of their ministry, and particularly the Corinthians were so many living epistles of commendations of the power and efficacy of their ministry; such confidence and firm persuasion of the truth of grace on your souls, and of our being the happy instruments of it, we have
through Christ, the grace of Christ,
to God-ward: who is the object of our confidence and hope, and the ground thereof.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. And—Greek, "But." "Such confidence, however (namely, of our 'sufficiency,' 2Co 3:5, 6; 2Co 2:16—to which he reverts after the parenthesis—as ministers of the New Testament, 'not hinting,' 2Co 4:1), we have through Christ (not through ourselves, compare 2Co 3:18) toward God" (that is, in our relation to God and His work, the ministry committed by Him to us, for which we must render an account to Him). Confidence toward God is solid and real, as looking to Him for the strength needed now, and also for the reward of grace to be given hereafter. Compare Ac 24:15, "hope toward God." Human confidence is unreal in that it looks to man for its help and its reward.
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