New Covenant Ministry
1Now, it’s because of God’s mercy # 4:1 Or “God has mercied us.” The Aramaic can be translated “God’s mercy rests on us.” that we have been entrusted with the privilege of this new covenant ministry. And we will not quit or faint with weariness. 2We reject every shameful cover-up and refuse to resort to cunning trickery or distorting the Word of God. # 4:2 Or “handle the word of God dishonestly.” Instead, we open up our souls to you # 4:2 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “we commend ourselves.” by presenting the truth to everyone’s conscience in the sight and presence of God. 3Even if our gospel message is veiled, it is only veiled to those who are perishing, 4for their minds have been blinded by the god of this age, # 4:4 Satan is called the god of this age. He uses trickery, deceit, accusation, and slander to blind people’s hearts. See John 8:44; 12:31; 14:30; Eph. 2:2. leaving them in unbelief. Their blindness keeps them from seeing the dayspring light # 4:4 The Aramaic can be translated “the flame of the good news.” of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the divine image of God.
5We don’t preach ourselves, but rather the lordship of Jesus Christ, for we are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said,
“Let brilliant light shine out of darkness,” # 4:6 Paul helps us to understand that “light” is both literal and a metaphor for spiritual revelation, and shows that the creation narrative provides us with an allegory pointing to the experience of new birth in Christ. See Gen. 1:3; Isa. 9:2.
is the one who has cascaded his light into us—the brilliant dawning light of the glorious knowledge of God as we gaze into the face of Jesus Christ. # 4:6 Or “in the face-to-face presence of Christ.”
Treasure in Clay Jars
7We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that this immeasurable power will be seen as God’s, not ours. # 4:7 This verse begins a long and complicated Greek sentence that ends with v. 10. Paul uses figurative language to say that we are common clay jars (created from dust/clay) yet we possess the brilliant light of God’s glory, Jesus Christ, and carry him as treasure in our being. The outward vessel is not as important as the glorious treasure within. The metaphors here may allude to Gideon’s clay pots that had burning torches inside (Judg. 7:16). 8Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option. # 4:8 Or “perplexed but not thoroughly perplexed.” The Aramaic can be translated “We are corrected but not condemned.” 9We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. 10We continually share in the death of Jesus in our own bodies # 4:10 Or “carry about in the body the death of Jesus.” so that the resurrection life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity. 11We consider living to mean that we are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that the life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity. 12So, then, death is at work in us but it releases life in you.
13We have the same Spirit of faith that is described in the Scriptures when it says,
“First I believed, then I spoke in faith.” # 4:13 See Ps. 116:10.
So we also first believe then speak in faith. 14We do this because we are convinced that he who raised Jesus will raise us up with him, and together we will all be brought into his presence. 15Yes, all things work for your enrichment # 4:15 See Rom. 8:28. so that more of God’s marvelous grace will spread to more and more people, resulting in an even greater increase of praise # 4:15 Or “to cause thanksgiving to superabound.” to God, bringing him even more glory!
16So no wonder we don’t give up. For even though our outer person gradually wears out, our inner being is renewed every single day. 17We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, 18because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.