Our only Boast
Our only Boast
Words of Faith 8-25-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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2 Corinthians 1
 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace.  For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that,  as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
One reason Paul wrote this letter was to answer insinuations raised in Corinth about the authenticity of his apostleship. Some had questioned his motives, his commitment to the Corinthians, and even the propriety of his conduct in some matters. Leaders are always an easy target. We don't really know who raised these questions but most agree it was probably false apostles trying to discredit Paul who was their chief rival.
As this letter unfolds, we will see Paul defend the genuineness of his apostleship, his conduct particularly as it concerned "the collection", and the issue of his sincerity. Paul met questions concerning his motives head-on. He could affirm with confidence-- "this is our boast"-- that his moral compass was right on. He had a holiness-- a singleness of heart-- and sincerity that were from God.
Paul did not do things in the way of the world. He was not about the latest church growth seminar or mission conference agenda. His conduct was not in keeping with worldly-- literally "fleshly"-- human wisdom because that is ultimately self-serving. Instead, his every effort was according to God's grace as he was guided by a love for others and sought what was in their best interests.
Paul's letters reflect this core of simplicity. They are simple, sincere, not in man-made wisdom, but in God's grace. Paul had no hidden meanings or ulterior motives in his correspondence with the Corinthians or anyone else. He was aboveboard and straightforward in person and he was the same way in his letters. He felt the Corinthians must acknowledge this to a degree and he hoped that this would one day grow into their wholehearted acceptance and endorsement-- full understanding.
Paul gives us a wonderful model for our interactions with the world and with fellow believers. Paul does not really advocate boasting, but he would say that our only boast should be in a clear conscience because of the way that we have conducted ourselves with the world and with fellow believers.
We are to operate in holiness and sincerity that comes from God. We do not need the latest worldly wisdom or faddish trend. We do not need convoluted systems management, complicated theology or burdensome ecclesiastical layers. We need to communicate with one another in ways that are understood so that understanding will grow.
The word "understanding" here speaks of truth recognized, acknowledged and applied. This was Paul's great hope-- "that as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus."
Father give me understanding. Help me to recognize the truth more and more every day. Help me to acknowledge You in every place and situation-- not just the religious places. Help me to apply the truth to my life in a way that causes me to grow in holiness, single-heartedness, and sincerity. May this be my only boast. In Jesus' Name.