Sunday Devotions- Characteristics of Reliance on Grace in 2 Corinthians 1.12

July 12, 2009

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.” (2 Corinthians 1.12)

Can I boast that I have done as Paul?  Am I as cautious as he to avoid living “by earthly wisdom”?  At times I know this not to be the case, falling victim to the prophets of this age.  This is not self-reliance he is describing; it is sovereign-reliance!  I must rest upon the sovereign that he will line up everything by grace and that nothing will befall me that is not ultimately for my good in being sanctified into the image of Christ (cf. Romans 8.28-29).

What then are these characteristics that Paul embraces?  Simplicity and godly sincerity.  Simplicity, or holiness.  This is a sort of transparency and uprightness which avoids lurking in the shadows of sin to protect oneself or to elevate one’s own fame.  And godly sincerity is the earnestness with which he acts, knowing that he possesses the only message which gives life and thus is compelled to make it known.  There is no conjured emotion or cold obedience here.  Paul discharges his call out of love for the Father and love for the Elect (cf. 2 Timothy 2.10).  Would that these were also the traits of my life.  That my actions and heart could be described in such ways.  That through such a frame God’s glory might be praised all the more because, and not in spite of, me.