In 2 Cor 1:12-24, Paul declared how he maintained his relationship with the Corinthians. He had been very hard on them in the first letter, which was filled with rebukes and corrections. So, Paul assured them about his relationship with them. In dealing with them:
He had a good conscience – 2 Cor 1:12 – he didn’t have a bad conscience about roughing them up in the prior letter or about not having visited them yet.
He used the right methods – 2 Cor 1:12 he preached with simplicity [2 Cor 11:3] and godly sincerity. Simplicity is the freedom from pretense or guile, candor; directness of expression, clarity. Sincerity is honesty of mind; freedom from hypocrisy. He hadn’t used man’s wisdom [1 Cor 1:19-21; 1 Cor 2:1-4] or methods to persuade them. He didn’t preach philosophy or vain deceit [Col 2:8].
He wrote the right words – 2 Cor 1:13 – he wrote God’s words [1 Cor 14:37]. What he said is what he meant to say; nothing more or less. And they acknowledged his words. That is, they had read or had heard about what Paul wrote. Many agreed with him.
He maintained the right attitude – 2 Cor 1:14 – they were his rejoicing 1 Thes 2:19-20; 1 Cor 4:15-16. They acknowledged [recognized the status of] Paul in part [in some degree]. Some of them stood up for Paul. They shouldn’t have been ashamed of him, in his rudeness and directness, since he wasn’t ashamed of them for their problems that he had to straighten out.
He desired their spiritual growth – 2 Cor 1:15 – he wanted them to have a “a second benefit,” similar to Rom 1:11-12. There is something more to being a Christian than just going to heaven. We are to daily be filled with the Spirit, but there is a definite point in your life where you surrender Rom 12:1-2. Dr. Ruckman says, at this point, “You give up your plans for your life.” He said, “Sometimes it is easier to die as a martyr than it is to live as a Christian.” This second benefit allows you to keep living for Christ through the troubles of life.
He always dealt truthfully – 2 Cor 1:16-18 – he never spoke with a double tongue. He didn’t use lightness, a lack of seriousness often accompanied by casual heedlessness. In other words, if he had used lightness they couldn’t have counted on his word. He didn’t say or imply that he may come or he may not come. He said, “Our word was yea,” meaning you can count on it.
He stood on the promises of God – 2 Cor 1:19-20 – Notice the two word phrase repeated twice in these two verses. “IN him.” When you are in Christ all the promises of God are yea. We are eternally secure, we are going to heaven, Jesus is going to return, we are going to be glorified, etc. But if you are not in Christ, many things are nay. Look at Jn 3:36, Ps 9:17, Rev 20:15. They are negative for those who are not IN Christ. Amen is a solemn ratification, a hearty approval.
He trusted the assurance of God – 2 Cor 1:21-22 – he trusted the assurance of salvation and his calling. They were stablished in Christ and sealed by the Spirit [Eph 1:13-14; 4:30] and he was anointed by God. These are very important assurances considering some of the things they had been through, like 1 Cor 5, which he will deal with again in the next chapter.
He strengthened their faith – 2 Cor 1:23-24 – he didn’t lord his position over them [1 Pet 5:3]. He wanted them to respond to the words of God and get right without him forcing them in their presence. He would have been heavy on them [2 Cor 12:20, 21 ]. He helped their joy because they got the sin cleaned out and their doctrine straightened out.