By Alan Redpath
Verse 3 . . . The revelation of God is not something which is legal or external or outside of Paul, but something that has come into the very depths of his soul, that has touched the hardness of his heart and melted it. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God"; not something that causes Paul to boast in himself, but rather something that has caused him to renounce all self-confidence and put his confidence in the Lord. Verse 6: ". . . not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit gives life"; not a ministry which has brought him under a sense of condemnation and guilt, but a ministry of grace which has set him free from all of that and given him life and righteousness, purity and victory.
Finally, verses 13 and 18: "And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished . . . . But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord. . . ." Notice the contrast: not the one but the other; not the condemnation but the deliverance; not the letter but the spirit; not an external God but an internal reality; not death but life; not a veil of uncertainty concerning the things of glory and heaven, but an open face beholding the glory of the Lord.
"Now," Paul is saying, "I can take any buffeting in the reality of that experience!"
. . . What are the resources which are adequate for any buffeting and which enable us to say, as Paul says in chapter 4:1 ". . . seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not"? Seeing that I have this ministry . . . an indwelling life, that has brought him out of death into liberty and joy, that has taken away the veil from his face and enabled him to see God--seeing I have received this ministry, I faint not. I have something which enables me to take it in the face of all the buffeting that comes my way, for I can always find resources that are adequate to take the knocks.
. . . . "Give up the struggle and the fight; relax in the omnipotence of the Lord Jesus; look up into His lovely face and as you behold Him, He will transform you into His likeness. You do the beholding--He does the transforming. There is no short-cut to holiness."
". . . changed into the same image from glory to glory . . . " (v. 18)--this is a lifelong, glorious experience, and it will be perfected one day in heaven. . . .
. . . . Buffeted, knocked down but never knocked out, cast down but never in despair, persecuted but never forsaken, because--praise the Lord!--you have found the answer to what it takes to stand in the ministry you have received: a clear view of Jesus, in contemplation; in reflection of His glory in the midst of the battle; and then being made like unto Him as day by day your heart is lifted up to the Lord Jesus and He imparts to your life the sweetness and loveliness or His character (Blessings out of Buffetings, pp. 42, 48-49).