Here we find in the epistles of first and second Corinthians that the church in Corinth was a divided church. The majority of the Corinthians approved of the Apostle Paul, but there was a minority of people who were causing a division in the church. The church was in its beginning and there were babes in the church. The church was made of predominately gentiles. They knew the teaching and preaching of the Apostle Paul. The congregation at Corinth operated in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but they were a carnal minded church. The gifts of the Holy Spirit do not give indication of ones spiritual growth. Nor do the gifts show that one is a follower of Christ. Jesus said,
“Love ye one another as I have love you, by this men shall know that you are my disciples."
When the church, the body of Christ, learn to love one another no matter what kind a fault one have, then we can say we have growth in the Lord.
There were false teachers in the church who questioned Paul’s apostolic authority. There were people who thought they were better than or more spiritual than the apostle was. These false teachers ultimately had Jewish origins (2 Corinthians 11:13, 22).
The apostle Paul stresses in this epistle; he did not depend upon any external appearances to recommend him. Nor did he rely on carnal weapons, or human eloquence or intellect to show that he was sent by God.
Vs.1 Paul begins this epistle in the character of meekness and gentleness of Christ. He addresses the issues with in attributes of the fruit of the Spirit. Meekness does not mean that one is weak or a push over. What it does mean is that one is not afraid to stand up for what is right. It causes for boldness and not confusion and self-righteousness. One of the claims against the apostle was that he was weak when present at the church and the letter he wrote was more than what he would do in person vs. 8-10. Ones motive is what determine if he or she is meek or contrary. Jesus said, (Matthew 5:5)
“Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth; vs. 9, blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God."
Are your motives for the advancement of the Kingdom of God or are your motives for the self-advancement. Paul always kept Jesus Christ in his view. As long as Christ was in his view, the apostle would imitate Christ’s character. No matter what the accusations were the religious people brought against him, he addressed them Christ-like. If you are doing a work for Christ, especially leaders of Christ someone is always going to have something to say.
Vs.2-3 Paul pleaded with the church that they would not give him occasion to be bold or exercise severity. Some of the accusers went a far as to say that Apostle Paul walked according to the ways of the world. As anointed as Paul was to ministry, he never forgot that he was human. God did signs, wonders and miracles through Paul, but he always boast in the Lord and not in himself. He knew his human limitations. If he did anything, it was because of the Lord and that where he boast (Vs. 13, 17, 18).
Because the Apostle Paul had set himself apart to do the work of Christ, they (the false teachers) slip their way into the church to undermine he apostle. Underneath the surface and looking at the motives, the Jews were upset that Paul was not like them and he did not socialized with them. The Jews were a self-righteous people. They only socialized with those who were like them. They measure their righteousness among each other. People outside of their social group were looked upon as unworthy. They had a judgmental mentality (Vs.12). Paul suggests that any think that he or she is of Christ by their own external judgment, then so are they (Vs.7).
The Apostle Paul reminds the church the war is not after the flesh. In other words, he was in a spiritual warfare. He was not guide by the views, and policies of this world, God was his rule. He took the gospel of Jesus Christ beyond the Corinthians. He warred against sin, idolatry, and all form of evil (Ephesians 6: 10-13). He understood this invisible war could not be fought with weapons of this world, but with spiritual weapons that are mighty through God. So, it raises a question, what are our weapons for fighting this spiritual warfare (Romans 1:16), (Ephesians 6:14-17), (1 Corinthians 12: 8-11)? Every one of us is a soldier in the Army of the Lord. Some of us are generals, lieutenants, colonels, master sergeants, and some are foot soldiers. We are to carry the blood stained banner to victory (1 Timothy 1:18). The weapons of our warfare are mighty only through God. It is by God’s power that we can be effective in our witnessing, preaching, teaching, and any other ministry God has for us to do.
The Apostle Paul gives the purpose of these weapons: pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalt itself against the knowledge of God (Pride)… What are strongholds? Stronghold is defined as a fortress or strong fortification (position) - Something that ordinarily cannot get out or come in. In this context and in a spiritual conception, a stronghold is that event that happens in your life or that seed thought that have been planted in your heart by the devil and he uses it against you to keep you from being what the Lord would have for you to be. Strongholds cause one to act out of character. It plays on your soul, your emotions and mind. Strongholds are those deep seated issues that lay in the heart. Strongholds are fortified in the heart and cause one to manipulate others, deceive others, practice witchcraft and do other ungodly things. All strongholds can be torn down by the power of God.
There are for the casting down of imaginations. What are imaginations? It is that thought or reasoning that one entertained to bring about confusion, destruction, and division. If a thought you have and you know that it is not godly, it need to be cast down. The mind is a battlefield. The traditions that are contrary to the Word of God are an imagination. False Philosophy, wise fables, superstitions can be cast down. The generational curse/teaching that is affecting our youth all can be cast down by the power of God and the weapons of our warfare.
Every high thing that exalt itself against the knowledge of God… This often points to pride. There are many who think they made it on their own. Some will not acknowledge God or His move in their live or in the church. When one expresses their opinion above what God’s Word has to say is exalting himself against the knowledge of God. Men and women entertain vain and unfounded opinions of the own Excellency. We have some professional Christian in the body of Christ. We have many people who claim to be more than what they really are. Do not fool yourself, we can be well versed in the bible or knowledgeable of the Word of God, if we do not have a good foundation and believe and exercised what we have read, the devil can take that very word and deceive you with it.
This warfare is to be waged against every stronghold, every imagination, and against every thought that is exalted against the knowledge of God. They are to be battered down by our spiritual weapons and the power of God. Upon every victory, it is not for us to boast about ourselves, but to boast in and to glorify the Lord.