2 Corinthians 4:1
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
I. HIS MOTIVES.
1. His sense of the glory of his office. "Seeing we have this ministry." This arose out of iris conception of the glory of the gospel (Romans 11:13). With this view of his office the apostle always strove to rise to the level of its dignity (1 Thessalonians 2:4),
2. His sense of his indebtedness to Divine mercy. "As we have received mercy, we faint not." His whole being was penetrated with a sense of the munificence of God towards him. He never touches upon this theme but his words glow with extraordinary power.
3. The Divine cognition. "In the sight of God" (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:11). What an incentive to earnestness and honesty of purpose is this fact of God's infinite eye being ever upon us! By these motives Paul was sustained, so that he fainted not. His sail was the exalted dignity of his office, his rudder his sense of the Divine eye ever upon him, his ballast the deep-felt gratitude of his heart for the mercy of God. Every Christian minister has need of the same motives —
(1) To stimulate industry and conscientiousness.
(2) To sustain in the face of apparent want of success.
(3) To inflame zeal in the face of want of appreciation.
(4) For support in face of the difficulties usually besetting ministerial work.
(5) To guard against any partial discharge of duties.
II. HIS METHOD.
1. Negative. "But have renounced," etc. In the discharge of the duties of his exalted office he totally repudiated all methods and practices of which he had reason to be ashamed. He entirely avoided "tricks of the trade." By his emphatic repudiation he implies —
(1) That particular care should be shown by us to avoid degrading our office by resorting to unworthy tricks and dishonest craft for securing success.
(2) That peculiar care should be shown to avoid all tampering with God's Word with a view to please men.
2. Positive. "By manifestation of the truth." What does this involve?
(1) An honest, clear, naked statement of it. It is impossible to convey gospel truth in too naked a form. The painted window of the cathedral may be exquisitely beautiful, yet it dims the light, and clothes the surrounding objects with false though gorgeous hues. The window which does the greatest justice to the light is the one that transmits it in all its purity, without manipulation or distortion.
(2) A full statement of it in all its parts and bearings. It is only as it is thus presented in its completeness that it can prove a saving power upon men's hearts. Any one-sided presentation of it will certainly fail to attain that perfecting effect it is calculated to produce. Light consists of three primary colours — red, blue, and yellow. Not one, however, of these elements alone will produce vegetable growth in full perfection. Experiments have shown that yellow, while yielding the largest amount of light, prevents the germination of seed. Under the red the most heat is produced, but the plant is unhealthy. Beneath the blue the strongest chemical effect is produced, but under this influence the strength of the plant fails to keep pace with its growth. So a representation of the truth all doctrinal is like light all yellow; it has in it only illumination for the head. A representation of it all love is like light all red; ii has in it only warmth for the heart. A representation of it all ethics is like light all blue; it has but chemistry for the conscience.
(3) A manifestation in the life. The ministry must needs be illustrated by the life.
III. HIS POWER. "Commending ourselves to every man's conscience" — not to their prejudices, passions, or tastes. It was a power arising, not from the charm of office, but from the charm of truth, earnestness, and holiness.
(A. J. Parry.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;