The true character of gospel ministers. (1-6) Cautions against despising
the apostle. (7-13) He claims their regard as their spiritual father in
Christ, and shows his concern for them. (14-21)
Apostles were no more than servants of Christ, but they were not to
be undervalued. They had a great trust, and for that reason, had an honourable
office. Paul had a just concern for his own reputation, but he knew that
he who chiefly aimed to please men, would not prove himself a faithful
servant of Christ. It is a comfort that men are not to be our final judges.
And it is not judging well of ourselves, or justifying ourselves, that
will prove us safe and happy. Our own judgment is not to be depended upon
as to our faithfulness, any more than our own works for our justification.
There is a day coming, that will bring men's secret sins into open day,
and discover the secrets of their hearts. Then every slandered believer
will be justified, and every faithful servant approved and rewarded. The
word of God is the best rule by which to judge as to men. Pride commonly
is at the bottom of quarrels. Self-conceit contributes to produce undue
esteem of our teachers, as well as of ourselves. We shall not be puffed
up for one against another, if we remember that all are instruments, employed
by God, and endowed by him with various talents.