CONFIDENT IN GOD: The basis of real ministry


2 Corinthians 1:12-22


Jerry A Collins



v  How should we respond when our reliability is questioned?

v  Should we ever be concerned about our motives?

v  Should we defend ourselves or let God do that?



I believe we have all experienced someone questioning our actions and the motives behind them. Especially when we have said one thing and then decided a different course of action. My daughter, Haley, was planning to attend a friends wedding in New Jersey this weekend. During Christmas she worked extra babysitting jobs to have the money to go. But she also had saved money to buy a car, which she did during Christmas break. But the car and expenses associated with it drained all of her money. Arriving back in Virginia she then vacillated about taking the trip since she would have to borrow money to do so. In addition, the weather was unstable and she had communicated to the brideís sister that she may not come. She finally called the bride with final decision and mentioned only money and not weather as she had to sister. Immediate text from sister accused Haley of being untruthful and bad timingóquestioning her actions and motives. By the way, this same sister is her new apartment mate.



There is someone raising questions about Paulís supposed insincerity and commitment to the believers in Corinth. This group is never fingered but reasonable to conclude the instigators are the group of ĎFalse Apostlesí mentioned in 11:4 & 13. They wanted to discredit their chief rival to gain control over who dispenses the grace of God in Corinth. This is usually the premise for power plays in the church. This ploy is met head-on. How can we make defensible decisions?


1. Make sure you make decisions with a clear conscience 12

He could argue his case because he could affirm confidently that his conscience was clear about his actions. Your conscience is the place where you make judgments between morals. You have certain information, which help establish inner laws. As you encounter complex life situations you apply those inner laws and create a solution, which you consider morally right.

A. You should follow your conscience or else it will become weak (the inner laws you established cease to guide and convict you).

B. It is your conscience that the HS uses to convict you.

C. But always examine your conscience. Heb 5:14 says that what a mature person does through practice is train his senses by judging and discerning good and evil. A mature person is then a judgmental person in the sense of regularly evaluating; (1) the conditions of the world around them. (2) their own actions, and (3) those of their fellow believers according to Godís Word.

D. Donít let others dictate your conscience (determine the information that establishes your inner laws). Your decisions and motives should not be like the worlds, intending to deceive.


2. Give all the facts so they understand what and why you made the decision 13

He wants them to understand his reasons for the decision he made about not visiting them as he said he would (1:23-2:4). Right now the apparently only have partial understanding. The letters he wrote were not meant to deceive anyone. He writes exactly what is on his mind and what he wants them to understand he means. There are no hidden meanings or ulterior motives in his correspondence. Above board and straightforward he plans to give them all of the facts and hopes to they will receive them and in the end have full comprehension of the truth. The point is that we want to ensure people have the complete picture and they can with all of the facts.


3. In any case, make decisions that vindicate you at Christís judgment 14

The Corinthians had part of the story and now will be told the rest of it. Once the rest of the facts are clear and the full story is told even Christís judgment will reveal this to be true. That is how confident we must be about our decision-making when our reliability is questioned and people misinterpret them. Again, the bible forces us to live our lives in light of eternityóour judgment. The further out you determine to receive your reward the greater your virtue will be. So delay your reward until the judgment seat of Christ and you will be confident in your decision making whenever others question your motives and actions.



Here motives for his decision to not come to visit the believers in Corinth are attacked. Sometimes, a Christianís dealings with other believers must not only be done in the right way but must be seen to be done in the right way. That is, your motives, why you are doing it, must be explained. Actions may not fully explain themselves. They may look Different than you intend so you may have to make a case for why you did.


1. Explain yourself 15-16 In the spirit of confidence in his rela with the Corinthians he had proposed a journey from Ephesus that would have permitted him to visit them twice. In 1 Cor 16:5-7 he intended to come to them and not just pass through but stay awhile, perhaps even spend the winter. He changed these plans (probably because of strong opposition being a painful visit for him then 7:5, 12:21; 1:23). Therefore, some charging him with indecision and his credibility as an apostle of Christ at stake. The originally two planned visits were an expression of his affection for these people. It was hoped that this would also allow them to participate further in his ministry to Judeaóaccompanying him back with gifts for poorer believers in Jerusalem.


2. Make a defense of your motives and reasons 17 It may have looked like he was vacillating when he changed these plans. The word is Ďfickleí meaning not dependable, fair-weather, making self-serving decisions. He was being charge with duplicityódeceit, fraud, double-dealing, underhandednessóand most likely this was being driven by his opposition who are turning the screws on Paul in the minds of the Corinthians. If this is his character, can he be trusted? Is his message also unreliable? So we may find ourselves in a fight for the truth and our integrity when our decisions and motives are questioned. Explain yourself and defend your motives with reasoning.


3. Our promises must reflect Godís reliable character 18-22

First, our word must be as reliable as Godís is 18. God guarantees His word and does not speak one thing and mean another.

Second, our word must be as reliable as Christís Word, which affirms all of Godís promises 19-22. What kind of word was that?

(1) It was in response to Christís Word that brot these men to Corinth in the first place exalting Christ there 19 (Acts 18:5).

(2) It was in Christ the OT finds its fulfillment thus Christís words affirm the Fatherís not compete with it 20. So Paul Silvanus and Timothyís ministry of this word had resulted in Corithís salvation and brot glory to God.

(3) It was Christís Word thru their ministry that set them apart and makes each them indwelled with the HS, owned by God, with partial payment in advance given as security of full payment. So the Corinthians had no reason to doubt Paul, his word, his decision, his ministry, his apostleship even with these change of plans. His are as reliable as Gods and Christís.



1. If we cannot keep our word in a particular situation it better be an unusual thing and not the norm. Sometimes changes cannot be helped or wisdom leads us in another direction. Then,

2. Since we must be trustworthy people, if we cannot keep our word, make sure the other person understands the reason, especially the motive, so they do not misinterpret.

3. Your character and Godís reputation must be seriously considered when we make decisions or promises people count on.