February 2, 2014
READ: 2 Corinthians 1:12-21
We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom (v.12).
In the early 1500s Martin Luther said faith in Jesus justifies us. But he also stated that faith should permeate all areas of our lives, including business dealings. Two and a half centuries later, a young man named John Woolman took this to heart as he opened a tailor shop. Due to his commitment to Christian love, he chose not to purchase any cotton or dye supplies that had been produced by slaves. Then he would be able to say, with a clear conscience, that he had lived according to holiness and sincerity in all his dealings (2 Corinthians 1:12).
In 2 Corinthians 1 Paul defended his integrity among the Corinthians who were trying to undermine his authority by charging him with being insincere, deceptive and exploitive in his dealings with them. He was forced to protect his character by highlighting several things about his conduct: (1) He related to the Corinthians with holiness and singleness of heart; (2) His conduct among the Corinthians was sincere—his words and actions could stand the closest scrutiny; (3) His conduct was not according to worldly wisdom—it was not self-serving (v.12). He related to the Corinthians according to God’s grace, expressing that he was dependent on His power for effectiveness (v.21). He wasn’t motivated by popularity or profit but by his genuine love for them. His faith permeated all of his dealings.
We should be careful to let the good news permeate our entire lives and influence everything we do. This may mean standing alone and risking profits in order to live in continuity with our Christian faith. When we talk and behave in a way that’s beyond criticism, we will draw attention to the truthfulness and the power of God’s message. —Marvin Williams
Read Acts 23:1. What allowed Paul to speak with such confidence about his words and life?
How are your words and actions a representation of your faith in Jesus? What areas of your life do you need to open up to God’s influence? How will you do that?