2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
commending ourselves to every man’s conscience
Paul’s enemies attempted to recommend themselves by cunning and corruption of the Word of God. Paul’s team simply relied on manifesting God’s Word to the hearts of people.
“Commending” means to assert oneself in a debate. The New Testament uses this word for military generals disputing about battle plans. Among many voices clamoring for attention, Paul’s team made their point patently clear.
The message of the team aimed at every conscience. They laid out the gospel plainly for anyone to judge for themselves as to whether it was true or not.
The “conscience” is the human faculty that recognizes right from wrong, the norms of conduct. It is the faculty of conviction that brings guilt to violation of norms. Paul’s team had a testimony to every person’s conscience. They were comfortable in leaving them to sit as a jury over their ministry; God’s Word has self-evidencing power. It recommends itself to the soul.
in the sight of God.
God examined every ministry of the gospel team. There was nothing self-seeking about what they did. God knew that their motives were clear. Their conscience was one of integrity.
Our ministry needs to be in keeping with our message.
Salvation never comes by rational persuasion. The issue is not the skill of a messenger, his method, or the packaging of it.
Criticism from the church where a person ministers is more painful than that from without. When people call motives of their leaders into question, that is particularly difficult to defend. When the people we love vilify our character and besmirch our name, the pain goes deep. Overly critical scrutiny that prejudges our ministry is something difficult to cope with.
Paul responded to his critics with the declaration of the Word and the centrality of Christ. Billy Graham never responded to his critics. He felt that it only inflamed their cause. However, in the local church, the pastor does not have that privilege because he lives with his congregation day by day. People will find our genuine motives by watching how we live and what priorities we place on ministry.
Those who have nothing to fear can lay themselves bare for inspection. However, those who wish to harm the minister will only permit suspicion, slander, and sometimes envy into their thinking. They thrive on the troubles of others, with the objective of obstructing high goals of ministry. With this kind of person, all a minister can do is put priority on the highest goal and let the chips fall where they may. Paul laid out his motive in ministry and let it stand there. It is not wise to cease effective ministry to engage in conflict with those with negative volition. It is better to let one’s record speak for ministry.