Paul’s Change of Plans

Three boys were boasting about their dads and one boy said, “My dad is so fast, he can shoot an arrow and get to the target before the arrow hits it.” The second boy said, “My dad is so fast that he can shoot a rifle at a deer and get to the animal before it falls. … More

Purity

In this text it appears that there were those who were attributing hidden motives to Paul. His answer is that his whole conduct is dominated, not by shrewdness, but by the grace of God (v. 12). There were no hidden motives in Paul’s life. If we are honest, we will have to admit that we seldom do anything with absolutely unmixed motives. Even when we do something good, there may be entangled with it motives of wanting recognition, of prestige, of something in return. Men may never see these motives, but, as Thomas Aquinas said, “Man regardeth the deed but God seeth the intention." Purity of action may be difficult, but purity of motive is still more difficult.

The people of Paul’s day must have been saying that there was more in Paul’s conduct than met the eye. His answer is that he has lived with the holiness and the purity of God. There were no hidden actions in his life. We might well add a new beatitude to the list, “Blessed is the man who has nothing to hide. The word purity, that Paul uses, is most interesting (v. 12). It may describe something which can bear the test of being held up to the light of the sun and looked at with the sun shining through it. Happy is the man whose every action will bear the light of day and who, like Paul, can claim that there are no hidden motives in his life.

Paul says I am not writing anything you cannot read and understand (vv. 13-14). When our Lord Jesus returns, you can be as proud of us as we are of you. While it is true that a crisis helps to make a person, it is also true that a crises helps to reveal what a person is made of. It is not love for the lost nor love for the world which distinguishes the believer but love for one  another  (John 13:35). These believers were Paul’s spiritual children. Many of  them knew him in a very personal way. In  the days when he founded their church and grounded them in the Word of God, they could sense his heart.

Application

In Paul’s life there were no hidden actions, no hidden motives and no hidden meanings. That is indeed; a quality of life that I should be striving for.

II Corinthians 1:12-14 (English Standard Version)

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and acknowledge and I hope you will fully acknowledge-- just as you did partially acknowledge us--that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.

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