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Mark Dever beschreibt eindrücklich die Theologie des Kreuzes am Beispiel des schwachen Paulus in 2. Korinther. Er ist bedrängt bis zum Äussersten (1,5+7-9; 4,7-10; 7,5; 11,30) und physisch angeschlagen (4,16 + 5,1; 11,23-28; 6,4-5; 12,7). Zudem war er äusserst in Sorge über die Korinther, zwischenzeitlich entlastet, doch bereits wieder in Erwartung grauer Wolken (2,1+4+12f; 7,12f; 13,2). Er wurde grundsätzlich in Frage gestellt durch rhetorisch brillante, nach aussen stark und wirkmächtig auftretende Superapostel (11,13; 12,11). Er, der kleinlaut auftretende und abwesend scharf schreibende (10,1+10).

Was hat uns dies als Christen im 21. Jahrhundert zu sagen? Dever:

How true is what Paul writes in chapter 5: “we live by faith, not by sight” (5:7). If you want one verse that summarizes all of 2 Corinthians, 5:7 is a good one: we live by faith and not by sight. Paul wants the Corinthians to be able to “answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart” (5:12). Could it be any clearer? The message of Christianity is not finally in how I can guarantee you a comfortable life in this world. Or how I can guarantee you victory in this world. Or how I can guarantee you esteem in the eyes of the world. If anything, I can almost guarantee you the opposite insofar as you are faithful to follow Christ. The false apostles compare themselves to one another by outward appearance (10:12)—bank accounts, degrees, distinguished admirers, chiseled features, chest-to-waist ratios, vocabulary, powers of persuasion. Paul does not. Paul was known to be a short, large-nosed, bald, timid-in-person man. That was Paul. A fearful writer of sharp letters. Yet he says assessing a man’s message by a man’s outward appearance is inimical to the Christian faith. It goes against the very faith the Corinthians claimed to promote.

… Everything from looking for a job to facing surgery to working on a difficult marriage, those are the very things God has planned to use for his own glory. Why do you think he has chosen you? Not because you were so virtuous. Why do you think he has chosen us? Not because we have no vice. Not because we have never broken the law. Not because we have never sinned against God. Not because we have never committed adultery or hated or coveted in our hearts. No! He has chosen us because he wants to make his grace to forgive and his power to change clear to the world around us. And to that end, you, if you are a Christian, are exhibit number one.

Mark Dever. The Message of the New Testament. Crossway: Wheaton, 2005. (200+203)