2 Corinthians 12It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory; for him to state further with regard to his labors and sufferings.Revelations; which the Lord made to him of the glories of heaven. A man in Christ; a Christian, meaning himself.The third heaven; the place where God peculiarly manifests his presence. Paradise; the place of celestial blessedness. From the Scriptures, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, we may learn as much about heaven as it is best we should know while on earth. We should therefore be contented with, and grateful for our present means of information, and so use them as to become wise to salvation, and thus be prepared to grow in the knowledge, holiness, and bliss of heaven for ever. De 29:29; 1Co 2:9. Of such a one--of myself; he purposely speaks of Paul caught up to the third heavens as one person; and himself--Paul dwelling in the flesh, and subject to all its infirmities--as another. Of the former he will glory in respect to the high favors conferred upon him; but of the letter--Paul as known among men--he will glory only in respect to his infirmities. To glory; in stating still further the honor God had bestowed upon him.I forbear; to mention any thing more about visions and revelations.Above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me; he chooses to be judged and estimated not according to the glorious revelations vouchsafed to him, which were invisible to men, but according to what in his life and labors was open to the view of all. A thorn in the flesh; this seems to have been some bodily infirmity of a painful and humbling character.The messenger of Satan; this is best understood of the thorn in the flesh, which is called the messenger of Satan, because he made use of it to buffet the apostle. The buffeting we may well suppose came in the way of temptation to impatience, despondency, and the like unholy feelings. The Lord; The Lord Jesus.That it might depart; that the trial might be removed. My grace is sufficient; to enable you with patience to bear it, support and comfort you under it, and make you more happy and useful than you would be without it.Glory in my infirmities; because they fit me better for the service of Christ, and make it more manifest that it is his power which sustains me, and gives success to my labors. Take pleasure in infirmities; on account of the good which they occasion.Weak; in myself.Strong; in Christ. Pride is so natural and strong even in Christians, and the bestowment on them of special mercies is so apt to increase it, that God sees it needful to visit them with special trials; and if, in answer to their prayers and the use of proper means, he does not remove those trials, they have abundant reason to acquiesce and even to rejoice in their continuance, as the best means of promoting the glory of God and the good of his kingdom. Ye have compelled me; your conduct has made it needful.I be nothing; in and of myself; all my sufficiency is of God. Signs of an apostle; such works as proved me to be one. Were inferior to other churches; in the quality of the ministry enjoyed by you.Was not burdensome; did not receive my support from you.Forgive me this wrong; said in irony. The third time I am ready to come to you; there is but one recorded visit of the apostle to Corinth before the date of this epistle; but he had purposed to visit them twice before, and now he purposed it the third time.Not yours, but you; not your money, but your salvation. Be it so; his enemies said, if he did not openly receive support from them, he did covertly, for he sent men among them to take up contributions professedly for the poor, and then used the money himself.With guile; they said he obtained money by false pretences. This slander he refutes, verses 2Co 12:17,18, by appealing to what they knew. That we excuse ourselves unto you; as if you were set to be our judges, and we needed to clear our character before you.We speak before God in Christ; in all sincerity, having no concealed purpose to accomplish.For your edifying; what the apostle had said by way of self-vindication had reference simply to their spiritual good, that they might be led to trust in him as a true apostle of Christ, and obey his directions by repenting of their sins and putting them away, of which there was much need, as he shows in the next verse. Such as ye would not; lest he should be obliged to rebuke them for their sins, and administer severe discipline in order to bring them to repentance and reformation, and to save the church from the corrupting influence of their example. Among the numerous trials which affectionate and successful ministers of Christ are called to encounter, the disappointment of their hopes with regard to many who for a time promised well, is by no means the least. Often they are called to deep anguish under the apprehension that some of their professed converts may, after all, be impenitent and sink into the horrors of the second death.
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