In 2 Corinthians 6:1–13, Paul gives evidence of his authenticity, and it has nothing to do with connecting with the Corinthians in cultural terms. In fact, Paul’s authenticity derives from the way that he is going against cultural norms. He proclaims a message that offends cultural sensibilities as it points away from worldly advantages to what God has done in Christ.
For preaching this message, Paul is treated in ways that are shameful in the culture, and it is this very shame and opprobrium that he has experienced that Paul points to when he wants to demonstrate his authenticity.
Paul’s suffering shows that he is authentic because in spite of being treated shamefully, he continues to preach the same message. This proves that Paul is not preaching this message to make his own life easier or his own name great but to declare the truth of the gospel. Moreover, even as people try to kill Paul, he lives, and the power of God to sustain life, to sustain Paul through all the affliction he endures, shows that it is God’s power at work in Paul.
When Paul wants to convince the Corinthians that they should listen to him, he doesn’t say anything about facial hair, technology, or anything that might score cool points in Corinthian minds. Paul makes a list of things about himself that demonstrates the bankruptcy of those values.
How do you show your authenticity? The way Paul did? Or does some other validating set of norms come to mind when you hear that word?
On Sunday, November 13, 2011, it was our privilege to ordain Noah Lee to the work of pastoring Faith Bible Church in Missoula, Montana.
Sermon audio here: 2 Corinthians 6:1–13, Commending Ourselves as Servants of God.
2 Corinthians 6:4–10 is a beautifully constructed passage, full of of ugly words made lovely by the truth of the gospel.