The good news brings light
1God has given this work to us because he is so very kind. So, we do not let ourselves become sad about it. 2We have turned away completely from secret things that people should be ashamed to do. We refuse to do anything that is not honest. We refuse to say anything that is not true. We do not change God's message, to include things that are not really true. God is watching us. And we tell clearly only what is true. So, everyone should know that we are honest and good. 3Not everyone can understand the good news that we tell. People who are dying because they are far from God cannot understand it. 4Those people do not believe it, because the god of this world has kept their minds in the dark. He stops them from seeing the light. Christ is completely like God. And that light shines from the good news about how great Christ is.
5We tell people about Christ Jesus because we want them to know him as Lord. We do not want anyone to think that we ourselves are Lord. We say only that we ourselves are your servants because of Jesus. 6God said: ‘Let light shine in the dark.’ And the same God has caused his light to shine deep inside us. He has given light to us because he has caused us to know him. He has caused us to know how great and good he is. And this light is in Christ's face. In Christ, we see how great and good God is. #4:6 See Genesis 1:3.
We are like weak pots that contain something very valuable and powerful from God
7But we, who have this very valuable gift in us, are quite like weak clay pots. And, as a result, it is clear that this very great power is from God, and not from ourselves. 8We have every kind of bad trouble and pain, but those things do not beat us. Sometimes we do not understand what to do, but we never stop believing God. 9We have many enemies, but we are never completely alone. People hurt us badly, but they never destroy us. 10We carry Jesus' death in our bodies always. And so, we can show also in our bodies that Jesus is alive. 11Yes, God is always sending us, who are alive, to death because of Jesus. So then, as a result, people can see in our weak, human bodies that Jesus is alive. 12So, death is working in us but you are becoming more and more alive.
13It says in the Bible: ‘I believed, and so I spoke.’ And we believe by the same Spirit. So, we also speak because we believe. 14God, who raised the Lord Jesus, to become alive again after his death, will also raise us with Jesus. God will bring us, together with you, to the place where he is. We know that. 15All this is helping you. God is showing to more and more people how very, very kind he is. And so, people will thank God more and more. They will show how very great and good God is.
16That is why we do not let ourselves become sad about our work. The person that we are on the outside is getting older and less able. But the person that we are on the inside is becoming newer day by day. 17We have these little troubles that continue only during this time now. But these troubles are preparing something much, much greater for us, which will continue always. As a result of them, we will enjoy something much better always with God, who is so great and so good. 18So, we do not look at the things that we can see. But instead, we look at the things that we cannot see. The things that we can see are there for only a short time. But the things that we cannot see continue always.