Bold Because of Hope- 2 Corinthians 3:12

As we continue in our examination of 2 Corinthians 3, we focus today on verse 12, which begins with a “therefore”, here using the Greek word “sun”. The use of this word connects what Paul is about to say with something he has just said, and “sun” is not the normal way to say “therefore” in Greek. “Sun” is used to “mark the resumption of a discourse after an interruption by a parenthesis.” What this basically means is that the “therefore” here does not connect this verse with what we have previously examined (verses 7-11), but with verses 4-6. In these verses, we find Paul telling us of the confidence he had, and that this confidence “is ours through Christ before God”. This “confidence” mentioned in verse 4 is the Greek word pepoithesis, literally “to exist in a state of confidence”. The confidence which Paul had was his “through Christ” and it was a state of being for Paul, confidence was a basic characteristic of Paul’s nature. Paul lived in this confidence not because of the ministry of the law, which showed him his flaws and shortcomings, but because of the ministry of the Spirit, which showed him he was accepted by God “through Christ” in spite of all his flaws and shortcomings. Paul clearly understands that his acceptance by God is never based on his performance, on his ability to keep the law, but solely on his faith in Christ. He knows he has been accepted by God in spite of his flaws and shortcomings, so he doesn’t seek to find acceptance from anyone or anything else. Whether others accept or reject him makes no real difference to him, his “hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness”. This is the hope to which he refers in verse 12, the hope (or expectation) that his acceptance by God has been permanently secured through the death of Christ on the cross, that he will be welcomed into heaven one day, resting in the fact that he has been accepted by God and it does not matter if everyone else rejects him. It is this hope which makes him “very bold” (verse 12). The word translated “very bold” here is the Greek parresia, a word which was similar in meaning to pepoithesis. This word was used in Greek culture to refer to freedom, but freedom of a very specific kind, the freedom of speech. Beginning with Aristotle, Greek philosophers used this word to refer to the right of full citizens to say anything they wished in the public square. Individuals were totally free to present any idea or concept, no matter how controversial or offensive, without fear of censorship or retribution. The one possible exception to this was an emphasis which developed on the requirement that the speaker speak “truth”. This usage was adapted in the Greek Old Testament to refer to an openness before God, that the speaker was enabled to speak freely before God, to tell God whatever was on his mind or in his heart. It is generally believed that Paul combines the two uses of this word here. Because he has been accepted by God, he feels a freedom to be completely open before God. Unlike Moses, he does not feel the need to wear a veil, he is free to speak and be spoken to, directly and honestly, shortcomings and all. It is this freedom before God which gives Paul his “boldness” here. He knows his acceptance by God is never based upon his behavior, he is totally secure in the knowledge of who he is and whose he is, and it is this “confidence” which enabled him to freely speak the truth, no matter how controversial or offensive it may be to others, which enabled him to exercise his parresia.

No Comments Biblical Psychology  //  Epistles  //  Transformation

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