3/20/13 IN CHRIST

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


2 Cor. 11:3

Morning Meditation 3/20/2013

In 2 Cor. 11:3 Paul said, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

We are living in a day when everything is complicated. Nothing seems to be simple anymore. I believe that the complications of our day are simply stratagems of Satan to discourage and sidetrack the people of God from enjoying and serving him.

Lets look at Paul’s concerns. The words “But I fear” connect his fear with “I have espoused you to one husband.” The word “espoused” (harmozo) means “to join, to fit together.” It is used to describe the giving of one in marriage. Paul had done this in Corinth through the preaching of the gospel which introduced them to Jesus and they stood at the marriage altar and said “I do.” What a marvelous description of a soul winner! Paul as a soul winner did not cease to be interested in those whom he had won after their profession of faith. He watched and continued to be concerned. Salvation does not end the responsibility of the soul winner. Discipleship is the necessary next step.

There were some things going on in Corinth that caused Paul to say, “But I fear.” The word “fear” is “phobeo,” the Greek word from which we get our word phobia. It means “to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm.” It is a present middle indicative verb. The present tense means that he is not dealing with a problem that could take place in the future. Paul has a present fear. It is middle voice which means that Paul is not only fearful, but this fear is making him personally feel the result a possible departure from the simplicity that is in Christ. It is what I would call a sinking spell. He has a real concern and is expressing genuine fear that he himself feels because he can imagine where the path is leading.

The word “lest” (mepos) means “lest somehow,” or, “perhaps.” Paul’s use of this word means that he is not pointing to any one particular thing. There are many things that can complicate (the opposite of simplicity) the Christian life so that one ceases to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The use of the word “lest” means there is a real possibility. Has this possibility become a reality in your life? Your life is no longer simple in relation to Christ. You no longer enjoy the excitement of a “bride” that has found her “knight in shining armor.” Has he disappointed you? Never! It is not that you are disappointed with him. It is that your walk with him has been complicated by life as it is with you right now. I wonder who caused that?

The words “by any means” (pos) means “indefiniteness of manner.” This simply means that Satan has a thousand ways to draw me aside from the “simplicity that is in Christ.” He is not talking about a particular sin. It is probably equal to the “weights” of Hebrews 12:1. It could be a job that has distracted you and consumed your time so that there is no longer time for meditation and meet with Jesus in private worship. It is amazing how we can justify our distractions by saying these are necessary to life on this earth. Just remember this. We are like a people without a country. We are in the world but not of the world. If I become consumed with life on earth, my life will not be described by Psalm 42:1: “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Has Satan taken this away from you?

In the words “as the serpent beguiled Eve,” we have an “as” and “so”. The serpent clearly refers to Satan. The word “beguiled” (exapatao) means “to deceive.” This word is made up of two words. “Ek” which means “out,” and “apatao” which means “to cheat.” The serpent “cheated Eve out of something.” He offered her something and, after the fact, she discovered she had been cheated. One of the ways he did it was by lying. He is a master at telling lies. Every once in a while I watch a program on T.V. that tells of a widow who has been conned by some expert con-man. She has been cheated out of her life savings because of this good investment that she had been led to believe would double her money or something like this. As she tells her story you can see the pain and disappointment. She will say something like, “He was such a nice man. I still can’t believe he would do such a thing.” I wonder what Eve would say if you talked to her? Eve was truly deceived (1 Tim. 2:14). But it did not remove her responsibility.

The words “so your minds” (noema) mean “a mental perception, thought.” The serpent messes with our minds. What are we to do? 2 Cor. 11:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” God’s Word protects us from the master con artist (the serpent).

The words “should be corrupted” (phtheiro) mean “to corrupt or destroy.” In the opinion of the Jews, the temple was corrupted or "destroyed" when anyone defiled or in the slightest degree damaged anything in it, or if its guardians neglected their duties. It is an aorist passive subjunctive verb. The subjunctive mood means it is possible. The aorist tense refers to a point of time where this would take place. The passive voice means that the deceptive information that the serpent uses can corrupt. I can be corrupted by what I hear.

The words “from the simplicity that is in Christ” is Paul’s whole concern in this statement. The word “simplicity” (haplotes) means singleness, simplicity, sincerity, mental honesty, the virtue of one who is free from pretense and hypocrisy, not self seeking, openness of heart manifesting itself by generosity.” This describes the Christlike life. The life of Christ was uncomplicated. Those who followed him were trained to trust him for daily provision, instructions and direction. They were trained not to worry about anything. They were trained not to take the word of the rabbi’s over what Jesus taught. Jesus said to his disciples that when they were brought before authorities, “take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.” (Matt. 10:19). This means that Jesus taught them to trust him on the spot to know what to say. Today we try to anticipate every question that could possibly be asked and memorize the answer. Do you realize how much this complicates the Christian life? When you apply that to us it means we are unprepared unless we have all this information ahead of time. This complication takes about 4 to 8 years in a college and seminary to overcome. And in most cases overcomes nothing. I was a college professor for over 15 years. I have seen them come in on fire for Jesus and leave in a block of ice. Incidentally, this is the rule, not the exception.

God help us to return to the simplicity that is in Christ, if we have allowed the serpent to corrupt us. Whatever it takes to get that back, I need to pay the price.

In Christ

Bro. White

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