The ministry of the New Covenant is accomplished through the teaching ministry when the Word of God is communicated to unbelievers (evangelism) and to believers (teaching). Paul has previously spoken about the opposition his apostolic ministry faces, but he now says it is through God’s mercy that he has this ministry, and because of this he will not lose heart:
“Since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.”
Paul refused to alter the ministry God, in his mercy had given him, even in the face of opposition, rejection or the temptation to compromise the teaching ministry with information that is more appealing or appears more applicable.
“We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.”
The choice was clear to Paul, he could teach God’s revelation and, thus, fulfill his assignment, or he could slightly tweak the message to make it more acceptable, culturally relevant and economically profitable. But, Paul knows that any addition of information would be “deception” and any adjustment of the message would “distort the word of God.”
Instead, Paul “set forth the truth plainly” knowing that when people heard the truth and saw the effect it had on their lives they would know the apostolic message had been vindicated. The results would be proof enough. Paul says that through the salvation, the maturity and the fruit in the believers’s lives we “commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience.” The proof is in the results. The people will judge his ministry for themselves. Are they saved? Are they maturing? Are they producing? If the answer is affirmative, Paul is justified in his ministry style and does not need to use “secret and shameful ways” to create the illusion of “Christian” growth through some other method.
Paul adds that if someone does not understand his message or does not comprehend the Word of God as it is presented, that person is blinded because they have already rejected the truth and are already perishing. The truth has been veiled to that person. There is never a need to change the “truth” to make it easier to accept, and especially for a person who has already rejected the “truth.” The minister of the Word of God who uses deception or distorts the Word of God in order to gain a following has rejected the truth and is ministering void of the power of human transformation that comes with the truth of the Word of God.
“Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.” – 2 Corinthians 4:3
“They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” - 2 Thess. 2:10
People do not perish because ministers fail to mix the Truth with a spoonful of sugar. People perish “because they refused to love the truth.” Teaching ministries fail not because they teach the Word of God, but because they resort to secret and shameful practices such as deception and distortion of the Word of God in an attempt to create something acceptable to people who have already rejected the Truth.