“What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.”
Verse 18 is the conclusion to the paragraph dealing with motives. Two more motives are treated: “pretense” and “truth.”
A conclusion is drawn. We would say, “So what?”
“Only that in every way,”
Paul did not care much about form or methods. His heart was to elevate the gospel. Paul did not concern himself even with motives as long as Christ was preached. God can even use carnality to advance the gospel, as here—“pretense.”
“whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached;”
“Pretense” means to cover the real motive and present others with a false idea. This is an attempt to disguise true motives. They used Christ as a cover for their lust for power and “selfish ambition.” Paul did not condone their cunning. However, he did approve of their preaching Christ. Notwithstanding their motive, they were preaching the gospel. He had a single eye for his purpose (appointed) on earth. The salvation of souls was more important to him than some perceived rivalry with him. “Truth” is to preach without false motivation in this context. What you see is what you get. A person whose motive and message are the same is a person with integrity. This is a person with no ulterior motives.
“and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.”
“I rejoice” is present tense. “While I sit in jail, I am rejoicing over the fact that Christ is preached.” “Will rejoice” indicates his purpose to continue to rejoice no matter what may come his way. Paul’s point was that the people who were trying to hurt him were contributing to his joy! Paul had such deep appreciation for the work of Jesus Christ upon the cross that nothing could alter his focus. Christ’s death upon the cross, His resurrection, ascension, and glorification were so dominant in this thinking that nothing tawdry daunted him.
God turns cursing into blessing.
God turns cursing into blessing. Paul’s foes were out to compete with him, to diminish him. Instead, he was blessed.
Are the people who are attempting to make your life miserable succeeding? Are they controlling your happiness or unhappiness? Is it possible for you to be independent of your antagonists? Paul was. Paul did not concern himself with their motives. That is why cursing was turned into blessing in his life.