2Co 3:4-6 “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”
In verse five of this chapter, Paul has said that we (the church) are the epistle of Christ written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. Our trust that this is true is rooted in the same source as it was for the apostle Paul. We have such trust through Christ.
Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. That faith does not teach us to trust in man but rather that our faith is to God-ward. Belief in and through Jesus Christ has never has, and never will, teach us to have confidence in the flesh. Instead, it causes us to look to God.
We are made to look to God because we understand that we are not sufficient of ourselves. The Greek word translated as “not” in this instance is referred to by Strong’s as being “absolutely negative.” There is no wiggle room here for us to take any credit to ourselves for being the epistle of Christ. Nor do we have any room to think that we in ourselves have caused others to be the epistle of Christ by our labor.
Actually, we cannot think that we are in ourselves sufficient for anything. There is no goodness in us except it be put there by the work of the Holy Ghost according to the purpose of God in Christ. We have no will of our own to walk uprightly: we receive that when we are given the mind of Christ. Our desire to love God only exists because He first loved us.
Like Paul, our sufficiency is of God. It originates in Him, flows from Him, and abides in us according to His purpose. By His will alone are we able to find hope and joy in the new testament of His grace. We cannot speak of the joy and beauty of this new testament on our own. If we are able ministers of the new testament, it is because God has made us so.
We did not teach ourselves to be able ministers by reading the letter of God’s word. To think that we are sufficient in ourselves to read His word and gain understanding by our labors alone is death. If we attempt to declare His word only in the merit of what we have been able to glean from encyclopedias, dictionaries, and commentaries, it is death. Leaning on our own abilities will kill us and any who are tempted to follow us.
If we are blessed to handle the word of God with spirit, then there is life in it. If we are called to minister in the spirit, then we are able (qualified) ministers. I am not saying there is anything wrong with study or with education: we should educate ourselves and study with all our ability. However, we will never be able ministers unless God makes us able. Only by the spirit is there life in our ministry.
May God cause us to know beyond any question that our sufficiency is in Christ alone!