Before we read this next part, let us remember what we read in the glory of God; we all (believers in Christ)…are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
4 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
I highlighted the previous verse because I think it is important to recognize what Paul means when he says since we have this ministry. The original Greek word he uses for “ministry” is diakonia which is where we get the word deacon from. It is an office of responsibility that is assigned. Now, it is very easy to read this and consider Paul and his troupe in their apostolic ministry is what he is talking about. However, the previous verse was talking about all of us as Christians, not just a select few. So what does this mean for us?
The ministry is the process of being transformed by Christ. Since (we all) have this ministry, Paul says they did not lose heart because they recognized that they are not alone. Not only are they united in One Spirit with God, but also with fellow Christians around the world who are going through the same process and also have the Spirit of God living inside them and guiding them. What does this ministry (responsibility of being a Christian) look like?
Renounce Things Hidden
In Mark 4 we see Jesus teaching the disciples: 21 And He was saying to them, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? 22 For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. 25 For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” As bearers of the light of God, we have a responsibility to illuminate that which hides in the darkness. This doesn’t just mean things that are around us, but that which is in us as well. We learn in James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
Don’t adulterate the Word of God
In Paul’s day as well as today there are many who use God’s word as a means to self betterment in worldliness: power, control, and money. This is actually one of the main reasons people are drawn away from attending church; it’s why I was drawn away from attending church for over a decade. As our society keeps telling us that we need more and more stuff and that we need to change what God says so our ears can be tickled pink, God’s truth gets distorted more and more by men. Either people entirely reject God and learning more about Him or they have been so fooled by a twisted version of His Truth that they figure they are better off not dealing with it altogether. This is why we must be diligent in renouncing things that are hidden and making sure we diligently study the word of God. Paul instructed Timothy (2 Timothy 2:15), “15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” Not only is this important to help others understand the truth of God, but also so that we are never swayed from it.
Stand together with others
The word “commending” was a bit deceitful to me. Maybe I don’t have a full grasp on what its intent is in the English language but usually it is used to signify patting yourself on the back. However, the meaning here is that the people of God should stand next to others in the presence of God. In other words, we aren’t to separate ourselves from those who don’t believe, but rather stand next to them and as people with an eternal love burning inside of us, be the ones who show them the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We should dedicate ourselves to others who have not yet heard God’s truth in its entirety and do our best to share it, because the world continues to deceive and hide things in the darkness. The distortion of God’s Truth is all the more evident in this world and as a result people are missing out!
Maybe it’s just me but it seems very easy to look at passages like this in the bible and point outward towards others whether it means telling others they should do this or that it is meant just to be a commission where we take this and apply it to others. The scary part is recognizing that it also applies to us! If we are all charged with (ie given the responsibility of) doing this for others, then there is someone out there who is charged with doing it for you! We need this too and we would be very wise to check ourselves first and test our hearts against these truths. We must take that log out of our own eye before we help remove the splinter from that of another, right?