2 Corinthians 3:4
And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
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(4) Such trust have we.—The words carry us back to the expressions of 2Corinthians 3:2-3, perhaps, also, to the assertion of his own sincerity and sufficiency implied in 2Corinthians 2:16-17. He has this confidence, but it is through Christ, who strengthens him (Colossians 1:11).

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.And such trust have we - Such confidence have we that we are appointed by God, and that he accepts our work. Such evidence have we in the success of our labors; such irrefragable proof that God blesses us; that we have trust, or confidence, that we are sent by God, and are owned by him in our ministry. His confidence did not rest on letters of introduction from people, but in the evidence of the divine presence, and the divine acceptance of his work.

Through Christ - By the agency of Christ. Paul had no success which he did not trace to him; he had no joy of which he was not the source; he had no confidence, or trust in God of which Christ was not the author; he had no hope of success in his ministry which did not depend on him.

To God-ward - Toward God; in regard to God (πρὸς τὸν Θεόν pros ton Theon). Our confidence relates to God. It is confidence that he has appointed us, and sent us forth; and confidence that he will still continue to own and to bless us.

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. We are not infallible in the case; but I tell you what confidence we have, hoping in God concerning you, through the merits of Jesus Christ.

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.

And such {d} trust have we through Christ to God-ward:

(d) This boldness we show, and thus may we boast gloriously of the worthiness and fruit of our ministry.

2 Corinthians 3:4. Πεποίθησιν is emphatic, and therefore precedes (otherwise in 2 Corinthians 1:15); confidence, however, of such a kind as is indicated in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3; for there Paul has expressed a lofty self-consciousness. Hence there is no reason for seeking a reference to something earlier instead of to what immediately precedes, and for connecting it with 2 Corinthians 2:17 (Grotius and others, including de Wette; comp. Rückert), or with 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, as Hofmann has done in consequence of his taking ἀρχόμεθα in 2 Corinthians 3:1 as not interrogative. Brief and apt is Luther’s gloss: “Confidence, that we have prepared you to form the epistle.”

διὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ] through Christ, who brings it about in us: for in his official capacity Paul knows himself to be under the constant influence of Christ, without which he would not have that confidence. Theodoret says well: τοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦτο ἡμῖν δεδώκοτος τὸ θάρσος.

πρὸς τὸν θεόν] in relation to God, as bringing about the successful results of the apostolic activity. It denotes the religious direction, in which he has such confidence (comp. Romans 4:2; Romans 5:1), not the validity before God (de Wette).


4. such trust] Better, perhaps, with the Rhemish version, confidence (Vulgate and Calvin fiducia), i.e. the confidence which St Paul had above expressed (ch. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17) in the reality of his mission and work, or in the fact that the Corinthian Church is in itself a sufficient guarantee of his Apostolic mission (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). See also 1 Corinthians 15:10.

through Christ to God-ward] So Tyndale and Cranmer. Calvin and Erasmus erga Deum. The Vulgate, which is followed by Wiclif, the Genevan and the Rhemish version, has, more literally, ad Deum. The words have been interpreted to mean (1) which will stand the test of God’s trial. (2) Which will be proved and rewarded in the judgment of God. (3) In our relation to God. Or the analogy of John 1:1 (“has His face continually directed towards the Eternal Father,” Liddon, Bampton Lectures) may lead us to conclude (4) that our eyes are directed towards God, the source of our confidence, and that it is through Jesus Christ alone that we possess the right thus to rely on Him. This interpretation is strengthened by a reference to Matthew 19:8, where the preposition is equivalent to in regard to.

2 Corinthians 3:4. Πεποίθησιν, trust) by which we both determine and profess to be such as are here described. The antithesis is, to faint, 2 Corinthians 4:1.—διὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, through Christ) not through ourselves. This matter is discussed, 2 Corinthians 3:14, at the end, and in the following verses.—πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν, toward God) This is discussed, 2 Corinthians 3:6, and in the following verses.

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). 2 Corinthians 3:4Confidence

In the fact that he may appeal to them, notwithstanding their weaknesses and errors.

Through Christ to God-ward (διὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν).

Through Christ who engenders the confidence, toward God, with reference to God who gives us success, and to whom we must account for our work.

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