The Sufficiency of Christ
By Toby Crowder
2 Cor 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;”
The phone call caught me totally off guard. “Yes, we have a check here that we need for you to come by and pick up.” As a young adult, I couldn’t possibly understand what the business owner meant. He informed me that my personal check had been returned for non-sufficient funds and that I needed to come to the business to make amends and pay the debt. It had been a simple (but expensive) oversight, and that experience taught me a very valuable lesson as a young husband. Even though more than twenty-five years have passed since then, and I do not remember what I purchased, one memory does stand clear… the returned check with the red ink that declared that I had “Non-sufficient Funds.” The word sufficient is an interesting one, and you will find it used over a dozen times in Scripture, and sufficiency is used three times. It conveys the image of having “as much as is needed” or more precisely “sufficient in ability.”
In our text, Paul was writing to the Corinthian church and in 2 Cor 2:14, he begins to thank God for the triumph that they have in Christ and that thought carries over into chapter three as he discusses the ministry of the New Covenant. It is in this context that Paul makes a tremendous statement of truth about the sufficiency of God. He is letting these believers know that Christ is “enough” and their faith in God was “enough.” Isn’t it an encouraging thought to know on the authority of Scripture that in a world destitute of so many things, we in Him have “enough?”
In the previous chapter, Paul has put forth the question in v.16, “…And who is sufficient for these things?” We can declare boldly along with Paul, that our sufficiency is in Him! To the Christian, He is sufficient. To the unsaved, He is sufficient for salvation. He is never lacking in having “as much as is needed.” Jesus Himself asserted this to be true in John 14:6 when He declared: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Peter also declared this on the day of Pentecost as we read in Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” There is nothing else that will avail men for salvation… for He alone is sufficient!
Not only is He sufficient for salvation, but to the Christian, He is sufficient for our service. Paul was writing to the church here at Corinth and had a ministry there for Christ, they had work to do. Paul tells them in 3:2 “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:” and reminds them of this. For the disciple of Christ, we have a demanding job as we begin another New Year, yet it is a joy to be reminded that our sufficiency is not found in ourselves… it is found in Him! Our sufficiency as ministers of the Gospel doesn’t lie in our background, personality, education, or place of service. We can have a great facility, a great congregation, great ministries, and a strong budget, but we can never look to those things for sufficiency. Our sufficiency is in Christ and His finished work on Calvary!
Paul not only reminds this church that God is sufficient for salvation and service; later in the Epistle, he makes a statement that has strengthened and encouraged Christians in every situation imaginable. In 2 Cor 12:9a, Paul announces: “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…” Notice that this simple verse reminds us that God’s grace IS sufficient for our every need. It is inexhaustible and will never diminish with time.
As we enter a New Year, may I encourage you to look to Jesus Christ for your sufficiency in salvation, in service, and His strengthening grace? We do not have to wonder, hope, or dream of having “enough”, but we can boldly declare with the apostle Paul that His grace is enough! May God bless you and yours richly in the New Year!
Toby Crowder serves as Pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Spruce Pine. He and his wife Leslie have been married for 28 years and have two daughters, Emilee, and Katy. He can be contacted via the church’s website MCfamilyforChrist.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read more from Pastor Crowder here.