AS, AND YET
BY: RAY PRINZING
“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, - as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live." (II Corinthians 6:4, 8-9)
Because of the LIVING CHRIST within him, Paul found he could be approved as a minister of God, whether it be “by honour or dishonour, by evil report or by good report”. If they spoke evil of him, he just continued to live pleasing to the Lord. If they spoke well of him, he did not take an ego trip, for he knew it was the grace of God that enabled the good report. It is God all the way. And then he lists some interesting “as” with counterparts of “yet”.
“As deceivers, AND YET TRUE.” Many certainly viewed him as a deceiver, for his doctrine was certainly different from the organized religious systems. But the fact was, AND YET TRUE, for he had received by revelation from the Lord the wonderful gospel of reconciliation and total triumph.
“As unknown, and YET WELL KNOWN.” Surely many have experienced what it means to be stripped of everything, reputation, fame, etc., to become one of God’s unknown ones. In the circles of men counted as a nobody. Yet there is a sense in which we are well known, as we are joined to those of “like precious faith” in a bond of love and oneness in which it seems we never were strangers. And uniquely enough, when someone needs help, they know just where to find you, drawn to the Christ within you.
“As dying, and, behold, WE LIVE.” There is a dying, being reviled we cannot strike back; there is no power or right for personal defense. Our rights are laid aside, “turning the other cheek”; we are being crucified with Him. But also living with Him, because of the inflow of His power. “He that hath the Son hath life,” (I John 5:12) Nor is it an off again on again, now you have it, now you don’t. He ever liveth! This is coming into an age-abiding life, continuous and constant. Though the billows roll on, and the storms continue to blow, though there are still areas of self to which we must die, yet that life we have received shall not diminish, it only leads into that which is more abundant.
“As chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (II Corinthians 6:9-10)
“As chastened, YET NOT KILLED.” Chastened – to be child trained, with all of its disciplines. Many see only the rod, and all they can talk about is the rod, till they think they must be some awful children to need such discipline. Better to see that God has purposed to develop us for His special purposes, hence all the extra love and attention from His hand. And we are not killed. It is not to diminish, but to enlarge our capacity for greater degrees of fruitfulness and glory of His life.
“As sorrowful, YET ALWAYS REJOICING.” There is a godly sorrow; which worketh repentance, a change of mind, until we are clothed with His mind. We also know what it is to be sorrowful over the conditions of darkness and unbelief around us. Yet, through it all there is a rejoicing because of that kingdom soon to be manifest, because we rejoice in the knowledge that God has it all under control, because though “weeping endures for a night, joy cometh in the morning”.
“As poor, YET MAKING MANY RICH.” So stripped of all self’s resources we have no confidence in the flesh. We can of our own selves do nothing. Yet, because of CHRIST LIVING WITHIN, there is that which flows out to encourage, strengthen, edify, and yes, to make others rich in Him.
“As having nothing, YET POSSESSING ALL THINGS.” The more we are processed by His grace, the less we lay claim to anything. No more “my ministry” or “my gifts”, but we go out as He bids, carrying neither script nor purse, and yet there is that abounding of His grace so that we truly possess all things and have no lack. He has become our sufficiency. How simultaneously one can feel so empty and yet so full, is a fact almost beyond explanation. Out of our nothingness and into His fullness. Only those who experience it know so great a paradox. He truly is our wonderful and bountiful Supply.