Updated 4 Oct 2019
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2 Corinthians 4
In this chapter, Paul expresses his commitment to the gospel and shares that the light of the gospel will shine through the lives of believers, regardless of the enemy's schemes. Despite our human frailty, he is convinced that, through weak human vessels, the life of Christ conquers the power of death. Once again, he speaks confidently about the eternal weight of glory to come, which enables us to rise above the challenges that we wrestle with in this life.
The Ministry of the New Covenant
It is a ministry granted by the mercy of God, to proclaim Christ as the bringer of a new way to God. Paul is committed to preaching the word of God with no frills or compromise. The world seeks to get its messages across in all sorts of underhand, deceitful ways but we do not need to resort to that. True ministers of the gospel have a clear conscience. We humbly share the truth and encourage people to get right with God.
The Veiled Gospel
The truth that Christ died, rose from the dead and one day will return is, for many people, hidden from their eyes. The gospel is real but it appears lifeless until that revelation which comes from God, dawns upon the unbelieving soul. Paul says that the devil has blinded people from seeing the light of the gospel. What an incredible privilege it is for us, who were once blind but now can see how much the Lord loves us and that he has given himself for us. So many of the Jews could not see that Christ is the Messiah. However, because Paul knew that Christ had opened his eyes, he believed that Christ would also open the eyes of others.
The Gospel that we Proclaim
This gospel is not our gospel but the Lord's gospel. We are servants of Jesus Christ. He is Lord. He is God who became man for us. The One who spoke at creation and brought light into the darkness, wants to speak into our spiritual darkness and bring His light. Paul's reference to the face of Jesus is very important. Look at the description John gives in Revelation 1:16. Jesus' face is light, it is glorious, it is powerful beyond measure but one day, we shall see his face and worship him!
Human Weakness and Persecution
Both of these challenges take their toll. Paul's picture of the jars of clay is very thought-provoking. The jars contain great treasure but they are vulnerable. However, Paul does not see this as wholly negative but, rather, rejoices that the power and glory of God can be manifest, despite the weaknesses that are apparent. His description of the afflictions of believers would be quite alarming, were it not for the clear message that suffering and persecution were also part of Jesus' experience. Jesus is with us and he will take us through these valleys of suffering and persecution. Jesus was raised from the dead and he will bring us safely through life's storms to be with him for ever!
Our Confidence in Christ
Paul is confident that our risen Saviour will see us through. Though our bodies are becoming frail, our spirit is being renewed daily. In the light of eternity, the trials that we face now for being faithful to Jesus in a hostile world, will seem as nothing compared to the eternal glory that awaits us. Therefore, we fix our eyes upon eternal things - namely Christ and the victory that he has won for us!
Points to Consider:
- Why is it so important for us to clearly proclaim that we are under a new covenant
- The gospel is veiled and the enemy blinds people to the truth. How can we seek to change this and challenge the work of the enemy, so that people can see who Jesus really is?
- The gospel is light. How do we seek to overcome darkness in the world?
- The obstacles that Paul faced were great. What obstacles have you faced as a believer and how did you overcome them?
- What are the grounds for Paul's confidence that we do not lose heart?
God bless you!
Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 4
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