12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
that we conducted ourselves in the world
Four dynamics characterized Paul’s conduct in ministry in the world:
-does not live according to the standard of human viewpoint
-in keeping with God’s grace
The word “simplicity” means single-mindedness (2 Co 11:3). Some manuscripts read “with holiness.” Here, however, Paul speaks with frankness about how people viewed him in Corinth. He did not communicate by duplicity to whom he ministered. He never garnished his ministry. There was no pretense or sham in what he wrote. He was single-minded about being true to God’s Word.
and godly sincerity,
The Greek used the word “sincerity” to examine something by the sun. That is, they held some to the sun to discover whether it had any flaws. The Greek word comprises two words: sunlight and to judge. In New Testament days, “sincerity” was used for potters who filled their cracked pots with wax before selling them. It was important to hold the pot up to the light to see if it was defective. Paul was transparent and truthful in his dealings with the Corinthians. Paul’s ministry stood the test of God’s gaze.
Biblical “sincerity” then means genuine. A genuine person can allow any investigation into his life (1 Co 5:8; 2 Co 2:17). The idea of “godly” genuineness is to live with integrity in the presence of God. Integrity prompts people to act on what is right, even if it creates a problem for themselves. Paul always related to the Corinthians with honesty. He was no huckster who twisted the Word of God (2 Co 2:17). He never made a trade of his ministry.
It is one thing to be solid gold and another to be gold-plated.
There are some Christians whose testimony is fragile. They are gold-plated rather than solid gold. Solid gold character is what God expects of every Christian. God does not want the believer to be a part-time Christian. The Christian life cannot be lived at our convenience. Many Christians live their lives out on the fringe of biblical truth. Christianity is not a hobby, whereby we give our spare time.
“Godly” sincerity is a genuineness that God gives. God gives dead earnestness to people who allow Him to do so. He will make us the genuine thing. This kind of person is not imitation or counterfeit. This is a person like the apostle Paul (Ro 9:1-3). He was a man on a mission undaunted by obstacles.