Therefore, You Have This Ministry
By: Alan Smith
2 Corinthians 4:1-2
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, 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. (KJV)
Wow! What did we really get ourselves into when we said “the prayer”? You know; the prayer we prayed when we asked Jesus to come into our lives. Take a journey with me for a minute, please, as we unravel the mystery of the verses above. Let’s consider that when Paul walked in ministry, ministry was the vehicle that carried him. We can relate to this, as sometimes in our dreams, we are traveling in some kind of vehicle. Many times, the interpretation of this vehicle is ministry. This vehicle, or ministry, takes us from place to place to deliver some kind of message, just as it did for Paul. When Paul was serving others, the ride was pleasant and very rewarding to the Kingdom of God. Note that I did not say the ride was easy, but it was rewarding.
Now, the gas for Paul’s vehicle was mercy. The more mercy he gave, the more mercy he received, and thus, the more supernatural ministry took place. This is also true for us today. If we bought a billboard advertisement for these verses, it could read, “SEE THE WORLD: COME AND JOIN MERCY MINISTRIES”. Could it be that as we give mercy to one another, it will propel us to our next destination? Could it be that when we begin to “spiritually faint”, we have left the mercy ministry? How can I really give and receive this divine mercy? I believe Paul unlocked this mystery for us in the scripture quoted above.
First, he says we are to “renounce the hidden things of dishonesty”. What does this have to do with mercy, you might ask? Well, the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth. We can see this in John 16:13: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” The Holy Spirit is truth and purity; there is no pollution. Dishonesty, however, is not pure; it is polluted. If we go back to our analogy of the ministry vehicle, we can see that dishonesty is like pouring water into a gas tank: it causes it to become polluted. So, Paul is showing us how to walk in the power of mercy, undiluted; and that is to walk in honesty and truth. He did not say perfection, but truth.
Second, he says we are to “not walk in craftiness”. Craftiness is the noun form of the word crafty, which in The American Heritage Dictionary means: “skilled in deception; shrewd; cunning”. It is important that we understand that we are not to walk in deception and create times of ministry. We are just to walk in mercy and truth, and ministry will find us.
Third, Paul says we are not to “handle the word of God deceitfully”. Could it be that we sometimes use the Word of God to glorify ourselves? Maybe we use it to show people how smart we think we are or to simply control people—hopefully not. If we look further in John 16, we see that in verse 14 Jesus says the following about the Holy Spirit: “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” We cannot misuse the scriptures for our gain. As the Holy Spirit receives of the Father, he will then show it to us and lead us into ministry, and it will bring glory to God, not to us.
Paul then tells us how we are to be. He says we are to be a “manifestation of the truth”. This is unbelievable. He is saying that we need to be truth, so that we can do truth. I think this “truth” stuff is harder to pull off than I thought. Maybe this is why I need so much mercy. Yes, mercy and truth will come by Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, abiding in us. I will leave you today with this verse: John 1:17: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”