Godly Sincerity

2Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 

‘Rejoicing’ [Greek: kauchesis] boasting (7:14; 8:24; 9:4; 11:10, 17; Rom. 3:27); glorying (7:4; Rom. 15:17); and rejoicing (1Cor. 15:31; 1Thess. 2:19; Jas. 4:16).

‘Testimony of our conscience’ – Fourfold testimony of Paul’s conversion: It was simple. It was in godly sincerity. It was not with fleshly wisdom. It was seasoned by God’s grace.

‘Simplicity’ [Greek: haplotes] From 2Corinthians 8:2 we see that the Macedonians, though poor and persecuted, rejoiced at the opportunity of doing good to their more impoverished and persecuted brethren in Judea.

‘Godly sincerity’: Does not exempt from guilt (Gen. 20:1-18). Must accompany forgiveness (Matt. 18:35). Commanded (Josh. 24:14; 1Cor. 5:8). Must characterize service (Eph. 6:5-7; 1Cor. 10:31; Tit. 2:7); our love to God (8:8, 24); our love to Jesus (Eph. 6:24); our faith (1Tim. 1:5); our love to others (Rom. 12:9); our doctrine (2:17; 1Thess. 2:3-5); and our whole conduct (1:12). A characteristic of truth (1Pet. 2:2).

Three godly things in 2 Corinthians: Godly sincerity (1:12); godly sorrow (7:10); godly jealousy (11:2).

‘Fleshly wisdom’ [Greek: sarkikos] From James 3:14-16 we see the eight characteristics of false wisdom: Bitter envying (Jas. 3:14, 16); strife in the heart (Jas. 3:14, 16); glory in profession (Jas. 3:14); earthly, having this life only in view (Jas. 3:15); sensual, living only to satisfy the animal appetites (Jas. 3:15); devilish, inspired by demons (Jas. 3:15); confusion (Jas. 3:16); every evil work (Jas. 3:16).

‘Conversation’ [Greek: anastrepho] behavior or manner of life – all that one speaks, thinks and does – the whole conduct. Translated “conversation” (1:12; Eph. 2:3); “overthrow” (John 2:15); “return” (Acts 5:22; 15:16); “be used” (Heb. 10:33); “behave” (1Tim. 3:15); “live” (Heb. 13:18; 2Pet. 2:18); “abide” (Matt. 17:22); and “pass” (1Pet. 1:17).

‘World’ [Greek: kosmos] the worldly social system. ‘More abundantly’ [Greek: perissoteros] more abundantly (1:12; 2:4; 7:15; 11:23; 12:15; 1Thess. 2:17); more exceedingly (7:13; Mark 15:14; Gal. 1:14); much more (Php. 1:14); more frequent (11:23); more earnest heed to (Heb. 2:1) and rather (Heb. 13:19). The idea here is, “We have given the fullest proof of our conduct to you Christians in particular.”

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