Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways, we do not use deception , nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly, we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. II Corinthians 4:1-2 NIV
Through the mercy of God in Christ, we are forgiven. As Christians, we no longer fear of exposure of our sins or condemnation from God, because Jesus Christ has born the judgement for them. So, we renounce those ways which we once kept secret and burdened us with shame.
When I was a child, I was ashamed of who I was. So I told lies. Actually, deception was deeply rooted in my heart as far back as I can remember. Always lurking in the back of my mind was the fear of exposure and rejection.
At school, at my Dad’s house, to my mother, at camp, I told so many lies that I had a hard time keeping them straight. Again and again I would make promises to myself to tell the truth, but as soon as I felt the truth would disappoint or expose my ugliness, I fell back into deception.
At seventeen, Jesus confronted my heart with his love and acceptance. I was exposed, but not rejected. The burden of secret shame I carried was placed at the cross. I was free! Clean. Approved.
I’d love to say I never lied after I became a Christian, but that would be a lie. Over the years, God has weeded the deep roots of deception from my heart. And I have truly, renounced (abandoned, rejected) secret and shameful ways.
I am still susceptible to temptations, but God gives me the power and courage to tell the truth. And the wonderful thing is, when I confess my struggles and victories openly, it encourages others to respond honestly – freeing them from the temptation to deceive.
Which leads to the second part of the verse, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. The truth Paul is referring to is the good news of Jesus Christ.
To demonstrate his great love for us, God incarnated part of himself in the person of Jesus Christ (John 3:16), who gave us an accurate image of his character (Hebrews 1:3). He took the judgement of our sins upon himself – death on the cross – to reconcile our relationship with him (Romans 5:10). Then gloriously resurrected, Jesus conquered death (Hebrews 2), promising us resurrection and eternal life (Romans 6:5). Jesus returned to the side of his Father in heaven (Colossians 3:1), and sent his Spirit to dwell in us empowering us to live and love as he does (John 14:26).
When life is so dramatically changed by Jesus Christ, as mine has been, there’s no longer a temptation to distort the word of God for the approval of others. On the contrary, we present it plainly because we want others to experience the freedom, love, joy, and hope we’ve found.