2 Corinthians 4
-Paul draws some conclusions from his previous insight developed in chapter 3. He affirms that the believers’ ministry is by the mercy of God and that we should never lose heart (a theme that runs through the book and this chapter, 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16). Because of this mercy, all hidden, dark, and shameful things must be exposed to the light of God for repentance and forgiveness. We are to renounce disgraceful (shameful, walk in deceit), underhanded (craftiness, trickery), and cunning ways (2 Corinthians 4:2). We are not to tamper (adulterate, distort, water down) with God’s Word. The truth will manifest itself through the ministry of the Word through His anointed ministers, which will be commended (much admired, highly praised) to everyone’s conscience. This may not be apparent to those who are perishing with the veil still covering their eyes. The god of this world (Satan) has blinded these in unbelief and they are kept from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ Jesus, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). God shines the light of His Son in our hearts rescuing us from darkness and giving us the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:6, Acts 26:18). *Application* Here we see the light of the gospel and the power of the Word of God in the life of the believer. We see much watering down of the Word in today’s culture by the de-emphasis on Scriptural teaching and application. We in the American church have been reduced to moral platitudes and cultural norms so as not to offend our brethren with offensive language or a judgmental spirit. The Word of God does bring conviction and humbles us when we come underneath Its authority. Anything less produces a tower of Babel society. We are reaping what we have sown because we have strayed off of the straight and narrow path of God’s righteousness. “Return!” the LORD God says for My mercy.
-Because of the work of Christ Jesus, the glory of the LORD can now reside in the believer to help them overcome all of life’s troubles in these “jars of clay” (earthen vessels, 2 Corinthians 4:7). Afflictions, perplexities, persecutions, being struck down, and dying physical deaths are all part of this existence as a chosen follower of Christ Jesus, but we have staying power, hope, union, resurrection, and life in return (2 Corinthians 4:8-15). *Application* Christ is our life and will cost us everything when we fully submit to His will and His authority. We would be most pitied if it weren’t for the hope of resurrection and His eternal Kingdom (1 Corinthians 15). However, our lives are not in vain IN Christ, because we are being renewed in the inner man daily by His Spirit’s presence and have the energy and strength to do His work for as long as He requires on this earth. Even though it may at many times be a hard and desperate struggle, it is certainly worth it because of the joy set before us and the reward that is coming to those of faith (Hebrews 10:36; 11:6; 12:1-3, 2 John 1:8, Revelation 22:12). “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient (temporal, lasting only for a time), but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).”
Verses to Memorize- 2 Corinthians 4:7, 18