2 Corinthians 4

2 Corinthians 4

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The Light of the Gospel

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Treasure in Jars of Clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.


2 Corinthians 4 Commentary

by Hank Workman

It’s easy to say, “Pick yourself up,” “Stop focusing on the negative,” “This too will pass”. These statements flow so easily from our lips when we’re responding to someone who is the middle of a great struggle. But when we find ourselves in such a turmoil or state of mind we know the difficulty of despair and hopelessness that almost physically presses in upon. Paul’s words here of the entire chapter speak such perspective and hope. Like a coach on the sidelines calling out to us to carry on – his words resonate deeply.   It’s a chapter of great hope to keep in the race.

If anyone has the right to say such things of these afflictions we may be enduring as light and temporary, it is Paul. Later in this book he writes of all he endured in suffering and the list is astounding. He’d been in prison, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, out at sea in the difficulty of waters, was robbed. He had his own people turn against him, the Gentiles, cities themselves rose up against him. He was falsely attacked over and over again from nominal Believers. He endured lack of sleep, lack of food and water. And these are just the physical sufferings! There is no mention of the spiritual burdens that weighed heavily upon him. The times it seemed like things were never going to change, a breakthrough was impossible, people whom he labored over would never be set spiritually free. Oh, Paul knew exactly what suffering was like and yet calls his reader and us to the perspective beyond this life.

Drawing attention to the reality of the length of our days, troubles come and go yes, but eternity is forever. And nothing can measure the joy we have yet to experience when that day comes! These things are truly temporary when it comes to what awaits.

God’s word comes always at the right time. This chapter was personally timely for me as discouragement knocks at my door. Maybe you are in the same place at the moment. It’s all too easy to lose heart, quit, give up, and walk away. We think it will be better. Paul drew his strength from the working of the Holy Spirit in his life that allowed him to plow through these feelings and instead renewed his personal commitment to Jesus despite what things were taking place outwardly.

Don’t forsake what awaits you eternally due to today’s pain. The resurrection power of Jesus that has brought hope to us when we first believed renews us day by day and enables us to keep our perspective despite that perplexities and hardships of life today.

2 Corinthians 4 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Why jars of clay?

“The Greek word means “baked clay,” and refers to clay pots. They were cheap, breakable, and replaceable, but they served necessary household functions. Sometimes they were used as a vault to store valuables, such as money, jewelry, or important documents. But they were most often used for holding garbage and human waste. The latter is the use Paul had in mind, and it was how Paul viewed himself—as lowly, common, expendable, and replaceable.”

John MacArthur

Yes, you may feel ordinary. You may feel cheap, breakable and replaceable. But the fact of Scripture is that God is not embarrassed to place His eternal power inside of everyday dishes. Jesus was not embarrassed to live as a clay pot. He did it out of obedience to the Father and His love for you. Paul writes that God’s power is made perfect in his weakness. One reason for this is because God gets all the glory. People who are strong, intelligent, and popular can accomplish a lot in this world in their own strength. Others look at them and see their works, not necessarily God’s.

Paul was indeed strong, intelligent, and well-known. However, he gave up his life and all his plans in order to make himself weak in the eyes of the world. He did this so Christ would be magnified. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should all quit our jobs and live on the streets. The analogy here speaks to an attitude of humility more than anything else.

“Why did God choose risky, earthen vessels instead of safe, heavenly ones? Because “perfect” vessels are safe, but bring glory to themselves. Earthen vessels are risky, but can bring profound glory to God.”

David Guzik

In fact, even angels observe humanity and marvel at our redemption through Salvation!

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you. These things have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Angels desire to look into these things.

1 Peter 1:12 HCSB

“This does not mean they want to but can’t. It means they want to because in a sense they are outsiders to the drama of sin and redemption (since they never sinned) and they love to watch the great work of God’s salvation unfold in history and in the lives of the saints. Peter’s point is this: if angels get excited about our salvation, how much more should we?”

John Piper
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