2 Corinthians 2:16
To the one we are the smell of death to death; and to the other the smell of life to life. And who is sufficient for these things?
Those to whom the ministry of the gospel of Christ is merely a profession, who regard the offices of religion as a routine, who consider chiefly such emoluments and advantages as may be connected with it, read these words with astonishment and without sympathy, But those who think as Paul thought of the ministry, with a wondering amazement at the grace of God and at the provision made in Christ for the passage of that grace to man, those who realize the preciousness of the soul and the solemnity alike of life and of eternity, cannot but cherish a conviction that, for a service so high and holy as the ministry of God's Word, no human qualification can suffice.
I. THE INSUFFICIENCY OF HUMAN POWER. To understand this we must regard:
1. The deficiencies of the human agent. No minister has an adequate view of the Saviour he preaches; none has a sufficiently keen sympathy with the souls of his fellowmen; none has a power of persuasion commensurate with the necessities of the case; none has the burning zeal for God which was perfectly displayed by Christ alone.
2. The peculiar difficulties of the work to be accomplished. The ignorance, the levity, the prejudices, the wilfulness, the gross sinfulness of men, - all must be taken into account if we would have a just conception of the magnitude of the great task which is entrusted to the Christian minister.
II. THE SUFFICIENCY OF DIVINE GRACE.
1. This is revealed to those, and to those alone, who are sincerely conscious of their own powerlessness and the inadequacy of all human aid.
2. God's own commission is an assurance that he will not withhold the assistance needed. The work is his; his is the call and his the authority.
3. God, by his Spirit, assists all lowly and faithful agents in his service, strengthening the feeble, so that by their means, however seemingly inadequate, great results are accomplished.
4. By the same invisible but marvellous agency God overcomes the obstacles encountered in the sinner's heart, and makes the word of man effectual because the vehicle of the power and grace of Heaven. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?