Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:1-4
“Does it sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back, insisting on our credentials, asserting our authority? Well, we’re not. Neither do we need letters of endorsement, either to you or from you. You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiselled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it. We couldn’t be more sure of ourselves in this—that you, written by Christ himself for God, are our letter of recommendation” [2 Corinthians 3:1-4 The Message Bible].
Paul clearly states that the evidence of His God given ministry was the Corinthian Christians themselves. Paul had first visited Corinth during his second missionary journey in AD 50-51. Despite opposition he remained there for eighteen months, together with a couple named Aquila and Priscilla [Acts 18:1-19]. From a difficult start and humble beginnings the church grew. Many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptised [Acts 18:8]. The proof of Paul’s ministry was not letters of credentials, educational qualifications, or self-assertion, but the changed lives of the believers in Corinth.
We must remember that Paul is writing against a backcloth of opposition from some in the church who rejected his apostleship. In order to answer those false teachers Paul says that the Corinthian believers are a sufficient commendation of his ministry. In his earlier epistle Paul writes, “You are the seal [certification] of my apostleship in the Lord” [1 Corinthians 9:2]. Literally, the conversion of the Corinthians was a better testimonial of Paul’s character and integrity than any written letters could possibly be!
A young man approached me some time ago and shared with me that he was called to be an evangelist. Interested to know more I asked him if he had ever led anyone to Christ, to which he responded, “Not yet, but hopefully I will do so one day.” It is difficult to believe that a person is an evangelist if they have never led another person to Christ! Where is the proof?
Some amazingly faithful people are called to sow and do not see a great number of people come to Christ. They labour incessantly among hard and unresponsive people. God promises that a time of harvest will come. However, it may be another generation that reaps that harvest. Both the one who sows and the one who reaps will rejoice together [John 4:36].
If you were brought to trial for being a Christian what evidence would the prosecution have to convict you?
Whether or not we see many people come to Christ is not the real issue. What is important is that we should be seeking to bring people to Christ. Who are you seeking to win for Christ, and how are you doing it?