Grapes on the Vine, God's Abundant Provision for His People

A daily devotion for February 3rd

The Source of Confidence

Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant — not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

What kind of confidence does Paul claim to possess? Paul is referring to the boldness, the confident sense of adequacy he has in his life that makes him able to function as a human being, and even in his work as an apostle. He says this confidence, this adequacy, comes from a certain source.

It does not come from ourselves. Those who depend on themselves are operating according the Old Covenant. Paul links this with the Law of Moses. He calls it, the letter which kills, which was engraved in stone. Why would Paul associate this with the Law of Moses? Because the Law was given in order to show us that the basis of our human life, inherited from Adam, is all wrong. It won't work. The Law makes a demand upon us and when we try to fulfill that demand, we find out we can't. Nobody has ever lived up to the Ten Commandments by trying his best. If you doubt that, give yourself twenty-four hours in which you seek with all your strength and might to live up to the Ten Commandments. I will guarantee you will have broken one of them before fifteen minutes is over. If not any others, the last one: You shall not covet. That means you must not look around and see anything that anybody else has that you would like to have. That is the Law! It is given to show us that the way we are living now, the resources of our life in Adam, is not workable.

The New Covenant Paul describes consists of this: Nothing coming from us, everything from God. It is God at work in us that makes us act and produce this kind of living, if we are going to do it at all. If that is the New Covenant, what do you think the Old Covenant is? Everything coming from us; nothing coming from God. At any given moment you are operating as a Christian on one or the other of those two options; you never can draw from both at once. But how could a believer in Jesus Christ even act as though nothing depended on God? It's amazing how easy it is to do this. We all know that God is there, but we really don't expect him to do anything. I am astonished at how little Christians expect God to do anything, and how churches are run and operated exactly like businesses, never expecting God to do a thing. Everything depends on us. It all has to be organized and carried out by people alone. Organizations can often become the substitute for the Holy Spirit. Somebody well said that if the Holy Spirit were suddenly removed from most of the churches of this country, nobody would know that anything had happened because they were not depending on him anyway.

Father, grant me this confident sense of adequacy that comes from depending on you.

Life Application

What or Who is your source of confidence? Do you live as though you believe God can act through you?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Authentic Christianity

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