5Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
It has been justly said, that for some of us, nothing short of Armageddon will shake us from self-sufficiency.
This is evidently designed to guard against the appearance of boasting, or of self-confidence. Paul did not feel that he was sufficient of himself to have reasoned or thought out the truths of the gospel. He had spoken of his confidence; of his triumph; of his success; of his undoubted evidence that God had sent him. He here says, that he did not mean to be understood as affirming that any of his success came from himself, or that he was able by his own strength to accomplish the great things which had been affected by his ministry. He well knew that he had no such self-sufficiency; and he would not insinuate, in the slightest manner, that he believed himself to be invested with any such power.
Everything aspect of his life and ministry, accomplishments, they were communicated by God. He had no power by reasoning to convince or convert sinners. That was all of God. Neither had he any right to reckon on success by any strength of his own. All success was to be traced to God. It is, however, also true, that all our powers of thinking and reasoning are from God; and that we have no ability to think clearly, to reason calmly, closely, and correctly, unless he shall preside over our minds and give us clearness of thought. How easy is it for God to disarrange all our faculties, and produce insanity! How easy to suffer our minds to become unsettled, bewildered, and distracted with a multiplicity of thoughts! How easy to cause every thing to appear cloudy, and dark, and misty! How easy to affect our bodies with weakness, languor, disease, and through them to destroy all power of close and consecutive thought! No one who considers on how many things the power of close thinking depends, can doubt that all our sufficiency in this is from God; and that we owe to him every clear idea on the subjects of common life, and on scientific subjects, no less certainly than we do in the truths of religion, compare the case of Bezaleel and Aholiab in common arts, Exodus 31:1-6, and Job 32:8.
moreover, we do not arrogate to ourselves any power to enlighten the mind or change the heart, we are only instruments in the hand of God. God alone could fulfill promises, and He fulfills only those which He makes Himself. All these promises have been amen-ratified and fulfilled to all who have believed on Christ Jesus according to our preaching; therefore, ye are God’s workmanship and it is only by God’s sufficiency that we have been able to do anything. This I believe to be the apostle’s meaning in this place, and that he speaks here merely of the Gospel scheme, and the inability of human wisdom to invent it; and the words, which we translate to think anything, signify, properly, to find anything out by reasoning; and as the Gospel scheme of salvation is the subject in hand, to that subject the words are to be referred and limited. The words, however, contain also a general truth; we can neither think, act, nor be, without God. From him we have received all our powers, whether of body or of mind, and without him we can do nothing. But we may abuse both our power of thinking and acting; for the power to think, and the power to act, are widely different from the act of thinking, and the act of doing.
Therefore, let us always remember and never forget, it is God who gives us the power or capacity to think and act, but he neither thinks nor acts for us. It is on this ground that we may abuse our powers, and think evil, and act wickedly; and it is on this ground that we are accountable for our thoughts, words, and deeds.
Have a great and godly day!