Now we have such confidence in God through Christ. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as if it were coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who made us adequate to be servants of a new covenant not based on the letter but on the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.
And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Paul speaks here about the other apostles and those serving the Lord alongside of Him. He continues to boast only in the Lord, naming God as their sole sufficiency. It is God who made them “competent as ministers of the new covenant” (NIV), and the same holds true today. Those who have been called to ministry stand upon the foundation of Christ Jesus, according to the prerogative, authority, and sovereignty of God. If they minister truly, they do so because God is in them and speaks life through Holy Spirit. Men do not deserve worship, nor can they bear being worshiped. Those in ministry who are praised ought to redirect that worship to the Lord. He alone is worthy – it is He who has received all authority on earth from our loving Heavenly Father. The law does not save, men do not save, only Jesus saves.