Because of much persecution, suffering and affliction, Paul had to battle against the accusations by false teachers that he was not a true apostle of Christ. These men tried to prejudice the minds of the people against Paul and his friends. In this chapter he declares his uncompromising zeal and integrity in preaching the gospel, so that if any did not see the glory and truth of it, it was because they were blinded by Satan and the hardness of their own hearts, not from want of a true minister and is a true message.
(Vs. 1.) 'Therefore, seeing we have this "ministry of the Spirit and life (written on the heart, not in letter but spirit) of justification and a perfect righteousness through Christ, this ministry of the redemptive glory of God in the person and work of Christ, we do not get discouraged nor faint in our spirit because of difficulties and trials (John 16:33; 2 Tim. 3:12; Phil. 1:29). Our call to the ministry is by the mercy and grace of God, as is our strength and power to persevere through many hardships" (2 Cor. 12:9; Acts 18:9, 10). The best man would faint under the work and perish under trial and burdens without the mercy and grace of God (1 Cor. 15:10).
(Vs. 2.) "We renounce the hidden things of dishonesty" - that is, they were the same men in private as they were in public. In regard to conduct, conversation and doctrine, they were open and above board (Matt. 7:15). The false teachers have much to hide in motive, manners and methods; they speak one thing in secret and another in the congregation. "We do not walk in craftiness, practising trickery and cunning, using people to further our gain and glory, disguising our true goals." There are many hucksters and merchandisers of souls who use religion and the gospel to promote themselves and not the glory of God (2 Peter 2:1-3). "We do not handle the Word of God deceitfully," corrupting it with human work, tradition and philosophy. "We do not keep back a part of it, twist it to suit the flesh, and cry "peace" when there is no peace (Gal. 2:21; Acts 20:20, 27). We commend ourselves (in the presence and sight of God) to every man's conscience by preaching with plainness and boldness the truth of the gospel as it is revealed in the Lord Jesus" (Heb. 13:17). An upright way of life and a true message of Christ crucified are all the recommendations a minister needs before men and women who know God.
(Vs. 3.) The apostle calls the gospel "our gospel" because he was saved by it, he was an instrument of God called to preach it, he was in love with and obsessed by it and he was entrusted with it (1 Tim. 1:11, 12). If that blessed gospel of the grace of God be hidden so that men do not understand, receive and believe it, the fault is not in the gospel nor in the preaching of it, but in the men themselves. For they are lost, blind, dead, natural men who have no spiritual perception nor taste for the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14,15). All mankind are in a lost condition by birth and because of sin. God has purposed to save the lost through Christ (Luke 19:10). Ho chose some, Christ redeemed them and the Spirit calls them by the gospel. However, many will be lost for ever, left in blindness and sin under the dominion of Satan. Some writers believe these who will be lost for ever are the people referred to in verses 3 and 4.
(Vs. 4.) "The god of this world" (because of the context and the work of deception and blinding man's eyes to the gospel) can only refer to Satan. Nowhere else do we find him called by this name, but our Lord twice referred to him as "the prince of this world" (John 12:31; 14:30). What he blinds is "the mind" - the understanding. Those who believe not are under the influence of Satan (Eph. 2:1-3), who penetrates hearts and minds with prejudice, pride, error and ignorance. By divine permission, he bears great power in the world and in the hearts of men. His design is to keep men in darkness and ignorance and, while he cannot keep the gospel out of this world, his business is to keep it out of men's hearts. The glorious gospel is the gospel of God's glory (Exod. 33:18, 19) in Christ. Christ, who is the express image and revelation of God, is the sum and substance of the gospel (Rom. 1:1-3) and salvation is having Christ revealed to and in us (Gal. 1:15),
(Vs. 5.) We preach not ourselves, our opinions, our philosophies, nor do we preach to promote ourselves nor supply ourselves with life's necessities. We preach Christ Jesus, the Lord (1 Cor. 2:2). We preach Christ, the Messiah, Prophet, Priest and King, fulfilment of every Old Testament type and promise; Jesus, Son of man, Man of sorrows, numbered with the transgressions, tempted in all points; the Lord, very God of very God, King of kings and Lord of lords. We are your servants for his sake' (Matt. 20:26, 27).
(Vs. 6.) In the creation of the world, God made something out of nothing. He commanded light to shine in darkness (Gen. 1:3). So in the new creation in Christ, God makes something out of nothing and commands the light (Christ is the light) to shine into our darkened hearts to give us the true knowledge of God and his glory (1 John 5:20). As light was the tint production in creation, so the light of Christ is the first thing in the new creation. Conviction of sin (John 16:8-10), the honouring of the law (Rom. 5:19), the satisfaction of God's justice (Rom. 3:25,26), and faith (Gal. 2:20) are all accomplished in the sinner in relation to Christ Jesus. Even our spiritual growth is in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18). So from the new birth to perfect conformity to Christ, the whole of the work of redemption is relative to Christ.