A Treasure in Clay Jars
1So because of God's mercy, we have work to do. He has given it to us. And we don't give up. 2Instead, we have given up doing secret and shameful things. We don't twist God's word. In fact, we do just the opposite. We present the truth plainly. In the sight of God, we make our appeal to everyone's sense of what is right and wrong.
3Suppose our good news is covered with a veil. Then it is veiled to those who are dying. 4The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They can't see the light of the good news of Christ's glory. He is the likeness of God.
5We do not preach about ourselves. We preach about Jesus Christ. We say that he is Lord. And we serve you because of him.
6God said, "Let light shine out of darkness." (Genesis 1:3) He made his light shine in our hearts. It shows us the light of God's glory in the face of Christ.
7Treasure is kept in clay jars. In the same way, we have the treasure of the good news in these earthly bodies of ours. That shows that the mighty power of the good news comes from God. It doesn't come from us.
8We are pushed hard from all sides. But we are not beaten down. We are bewildered. But that doesn't make us lose hope. 9Others make us suffer. But God does not desert us. We are knocked down. But we are not knocked out. 10We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies. In that way, the life of Jesus can be shown in our bodies.
11We who are alive are always in danger of death because we are serving Jesus. So his life can be shown in our earthly bodies. 12Death is at work in us. But life is at work in you.
13It is written, "I believed, and so I have spoken." (Psalm 116:10) With that same spirit of faith we also believe. And we also speak.
14We know that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. And he will also raise us up with Jesus. He will bring us with you to God in heaven. 15All of that is for your benefit. God's grace is reaching more and more people. So they will become more and more thankful. They will give glory to God.
16We don't give up. Our bodies are becoming weaker and weaker. But our spirits are being renewed day by day. 17Our troubles are small. They last only for a short time. But they are earning for us a glory that will last forever. It is greater than all our troubles.
18So we don't spend all our time looking at what we can see. Instead, we look at what we can't see. What can be seen lasts only a short time. But what can't be seen will last forever.