The One the Lord Commends
2 Corinthians 10:17-18 (ESV) -- “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
We have an entire hiring system in our country of gathering recommendations from previous employers or relevant figures. If you want to get into a prestigious university, you need recommendations. The idea of seeing recommendations is the ability to evaluate someone you do not know. You collect information from other people to get a grasp on the character of the individual in question.
Our passage today challenges us to recognize that the most important commendation we could receive is from the Lord Himself. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:17-18, “’Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”
Paul says that if there is any boasting that one should do, it shouldn’t be in ourselves. Commending ourselves to others is prideful and distasteful. Our boast, if there is to be one, is in Christ alone. He is the One who paid for our sins. He saved us. His life, death, and resurrection has provided us eternal life. Our boast is reserved for Him.
So many people in our culture today try to commend themselves before God. If you ask the average person on the street, “Do you think you’re a good person?” They will answer in the affirmative. If you ask them if they think they’ll go to Heaven, they’ll affirm it and justify their answer by touting how good of a person they are, especially compared to others. They commend themselves. But Paul says this commendation is of no use before God.
Rather, we need the Lord’s commendation. The one who is approved of by God is the one commended by Christ. How do we receive that? By trusting, not in ourselves, but in Jesus’ finished work. The person commended and approved of by God is the one clothed in the righteousness of Christ. We are saved by faith, not works. Our works will not commend us, they’ll condemn us, if they are not the overflow of a reconciled relationship with God through faith in Jesus. Are you commended by God?
Reflection & Journal:
- Why does Paul establish that there is no room for boasting in our lives?
- What are examples of ways people attempt to commend themselves today?
- How can we be approved of by God? How should this shape our daily lives?
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