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.
not with fleshly wisdom
“Fleshly” means human. Paul’s thinking did not come from the human viewpoint. Divine viewpoint is different from human viewpoint (1 Co 1:18-25, 30). Paul did not use human rhetoric in ministry (1 Co 2:4-5, 13).
but by the grace of God,
If the Corinthians would see what God had done through Paul, then they would get a proper perspective in his ministry. They would come to grips with God’s power manifesting itself through him. He never resorted to cleverness or deceit. He was not a man of duplicity.
We have testimony by the grace of God. The credit goes to Him (1 Co 4:7; 15:10; Ga 6:14). If it were not for Him, then we would not have a testimony where God injected Himself into our situation. What would we be without the grace of God? Where would we be now?
and more abundantly toward you.
It is crucial to live with integrity among fellow Christians (2 Co 2:4). Paul had ministered 18 months in Corinth; they saw how he was a man of integrity at that time. They saw he was a person “above reproach.” He was also this in one of the vilest cities of the world at the time.
Integrity is always related to credibility.
Christians who want to have an impact on this world must live in integrity. We live in a world that does not value integrity but is full of deceit. Rivals to Paul undermined his credibility. They attempted to vaunt themselves by downing Paul. People today do the same thing. They will try to tear you down to build themselves up.
Expediency dictates the conduct of those who are directed by human viewpoint. Their standards are never absolute but relative to the circumstance or situation. This inevitability leads to twisting of what is true (2 Co 4:2). They derive their norms from culture. People who have integrity are free from pretension or professing to be someone they are not.