“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17).
This is a powerful and fascinating passage. The verse construction and the message it delivers is very unique. It addresses those who “corrupt the word” or those who adulterate, dilute or alter God’s word for profit and benefit. More importantly this verse from the Apostle Paul highlights the “sincerity” we should have in speaking God’s word.
The word “corrupt” or the Greek, “kapeleuo” comes from the word meaning tavern keeper. It implies the mixing down or diluting of wines for profit. But Paul makes an interesting statement when he says “we are not as many” saying that those who change the word of God abound.
First off, we know that, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it” (Deuteronomy 4:2). So changing the words, meaning or context of God’s word is a sin.
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).
It is very easy to picture a huckster, a con man who leverages an altered version of God’s word for financial gain. There has been more than one priest, rabbi, pastor, televangelist, church, non-profit organization or charitable cause that has worked under the auspices of God or Christianity that was nothing more than a method to subtract you from your money.
“Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter” (Isaiah 56:11).
Far worse is the church or religion that alters God word and message to attract congregants. God’s light needs no help. God’s light will attract and retain the called. Some other light will attract some other, but not the called of God.
“but as of sincerity” This is to be found pure as when examined by the bright and revealing light of the sun. This purity of sincerity is the effect of God by the Holy Ghost. God’s word from us and motivated by the Holy Ghost in sincerity and purity.
The word of God in sincerity and in plainness and in truth. Many lies are in many words. The man of God will always strive to speak the word of God clearly and concisely. John Wesley, the 18th century theologian and founder of “Methodism” stresses that, “we use great plainness of speech as becomes the ministry we received”.
Dark and difficult sayings intended to bolster self-image, to convey superior knowledge or showcase self-Holiness should not always be avoided, but should be considered a great sin! We as ministers and Christians should always strive to be like Ezra and Nehemiah to, “read in the book in the law of God distinctly” and to be able to give, “the sense” and cause everyone we encounter to, “understand the reading”. Doing so not only enlightens the mind of the hearer but uplifts their spirit and soul as well. God’s word is spirit and it is life, make it clear and understandable!
“And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them” (Nehemiah 8:8 & 12).
Children of God
“but as of God” We are children of God and are to act like it. We should not shy away from being as God or act under some guise of humility as if being as God was a self-righteous act. It is not. God is righteous and we are to be righteous (not self-righteous). “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). It is God within us as to why we should be as God without us.
“in the sight of God” This ought to keep everyone in check. What we say and do is “in the sight of God”. A man of God will take this to heart and be as of sincerity. The corrupt, be it huckster or minister are rebelling against God, defying and denying the very word of God for profit and gain.
“What we do in religion is not of God, does not come from God, will not reach to God, unless it be done in sincerity, as in the sight of God” (Matthew Henry).
“speak we in Christ” spread the word, the good news, the gospels of Jesus Christ as if God himself was standing right beside us, because He is!
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