New Covenant Ministry
1Now, it’s because of God’s mercy 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. Instead, we open up our souls to you 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, leaving them in unbelief. Their blindness keeps them from seeing the dayspring light of the wonderful news of the glory of Jesus 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,”
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.
Treasure in Clay Jars
7We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours. 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. 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 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.”
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 so that more of God’s marvelous grace will spread to more and more people, resulting in an even greater increase of praise 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.