The Honest Apostles

"[We] have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, 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" (II Corinthians 4:2).

One of the most futile and foolish arguments of unbelievers is to accuse the New Testament writers of trying to foist off tales of a supernatural Christ on gullible people. The Scriptures written by these men, however, contain strong condemnations of all dishonesty and deceit, and it is impossible that they could simultaneously engage in such a gigantic conspiracy. Paul's claim in our text, for example, would be the worst sort of hypocrisy in such a case. Peter said: "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word" (I Peter 2:1-2). John warned: "All liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone" (Revelation 21:8).

But the clinching proof of their honesty and sincerity was their willingness to suffer for their testimony. Paul said: "Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day" (I Corinthians 4:11-13). All the apostles and writers of the New Testament (except John, who also suffered severe persecution throughout his long life) eventually died as martyrs for their faith, and it is incredible that they would have suffered and died for a message they knew to be a lie. We can have complete confidence that the New Testament records are honest reports of sincere and godly men. HMM

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