But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the Word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:2—NKJV)

One of the horrifying realities of our day seems to be that it is growing harder and harder to find the love of truth in those who occupy positions of leadership. Men seem to have a price, their motive is the expedient, and their course seems to be influenced, to one degree or another, by the prevailing winds and tides. Words seem to bear the cheapest price of all. With our society increasingly enamored with shoddy substitutes, easy fixes, and feel-good oblivion, is it any wonder that absolutes are relegated to the shadows and even the common man accepts the dictum, “Well, that’s your truth.”

This is nowhere more evident than in the area of religion and morals. People seem to be fond of claiming they are Christians, but by their words and beliefs they maintain a significant disconnect between what they claim in name and what the Bible requires in authenticity and holiness. Hypocritical preachers and church-goers have been largely responsible for difficulties serious believers face when seeking to be a faithful witness. It seems that just about anyone can name some high profile person who claims to be a Christian but wouldn’t know the truth if they fell over it.

Why is the pairing of integrity and truth so important? James 1:18 reads, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of Truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” Since the Bible teaches that God is Truth, the Son is Truth, the Spirit is Truth, and the Bible is Truth, it is only logical that the only way to a secure salvation is faith in the truth of the Word (Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God). The Word teaches the purity of God, the impurity of man under judgment for his sin, and the facts about what God had to do in order to purchase transformed lives for every believer from salvation today out to eternity. This is the truth of the Gospel and this is what we are to represent to all lost men with clarity.

What is truth? Truth is expression that fully conforms to indivisible, factual reality. Expressions in word or life that are incomplete representations of the facts of reality are not truth. They may contain truth, but in their admixtures of truth and error they brew a potent poison. This is the reason for Paul’s verse quoted above. He goes to great lengths to speak to the integrity of the message backed up by integrity of life, so that the life of the messenger does not negate the effect of the Gospel.

For the sake of the truth of the Gospel, Paul shuns three disqualifying behaviors. 1) He has renounced (disowned) the hidden (krupto—we get cryptic from this word) matters of shame (shame for something done, shameful deeds). He guards his integrity in such a way that he is the same in public as he is in private. What he is to all who know him is what he is to God. 2) He conducts himself in simple honesty. Craftiness is from a compound word meaning “all-working.” There is no inscrutable and complicated stratagem to his actions. He is predictable in his heart-work just as the Gospel he proclaims. 3) He labors to prevent deceit from poisoning the purity of the Gospel. Handling deceitfully is to corrupt, adulterate, mingle truth with falsehood, to ensnare and lure as by bait. There is no trickstering performed by Paul.

In short, Paul lives in such a way that he manifests (root word is “shining,” to make visible and bring into plain view) the truth (the underlying reality) by conforming his life of witness to the simplicity of the Gospel.

Are you living proof of the Truth? Repent of all within and without that mixes error into the Gospel that you claim. By God’s grace see to it that you bear witness to the Truth with all integrity. Trust and obey.