2 Corinthians 4As we have received mercy; the apostle has special reference to the mercy of God in calling him from being a blasphemer of Christ to be his apostle, 1Ti 1:12,13. The glorious prospects which the gospel opens to faithful ministers, and all true Christians, animate them to press onward in the path of duty with increasing zeal and fidelity to the end. The hidden things of dishonesty; literally, as the margin, the hidden things of shame; shameful deeds which men practise secretly, because they are ashamed to have them known. The words immediately following show that he refers to the base arts of the false teachers who sought to supplant him in the favor of the Corinthians.Not walking in craftiness; as preachers of the gospel, not resorting to low and base arts to gain popularity.Handling the word of God deceitfully; corrupting it by a mixture of human inventions to make it more platable to worldly men.Commending ourselves; preaching as in the presence of God, and in such a manner as every enlightened conscience must approve. If our gospel be hid; literally, veiled, in allusion to the veil in the hearts of the unbelieving Jews; that is, so hid that men do not see its glory. All such are still in their lost condition, unenlightened by the Holy Ghost. The god of this world; Satan, under whose influence are all unbelievers.Lest the light--should shine; so shine that, by believing in Christ, they should see his glory and be made like him. Satan makes great efforts to hinder men from hearing and believing the gospel, lest its light should so shine into their minds as to be the means of their conversion and salvation. Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants; more literally, Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants. Commanded the light; Ge 1:3.In the face of Jesus Christ; as he is revealed in the gospel. This treasure; this knowledge of Christ, and of the gospel which they were to publish.Earthen vessels; feeble, frail, dying men.The excellency of the power; that it may be seen that the power which gives success is of God. The character and condition of ministers of the gospel have always been such as to show that their success was of God; and the fact that Christianity has lived and triumphed, notwithstanding their weakness and unworthiness, is a standing demonstration of its divine origin. Not distressed; so as to be overcome or disabled for their duties.Perplexed; as to what course to take.Not in despair; not left utterly at a loss what to do, as those forsaken of God. Persecuted; by men.Not forsaken; of God.Not destroyed; able to rise again and renew the conflict. Always bearing about; wherever we go.The dying of the Lord Jesus; the violent putting to death of the Lord Jesus; in other words, always exposed, like him, to a violent death at the hand of the wicked, with all the sufferings connected with such an exposure. See next verse.The life also of Jesus; a life conformed to that of Jesus. We are to understand the life of Jesus in the widest sense, so far as he was a man. It is a life devoted to God, sustained by God, and which will be finally made triumphant in a glorious resurrection over all evil.Might be made manifest; might be clearly exhibited to men. For we which live; who yet live in mortal bodies.In our mortal flesh, not merely in our spirits, but in our frail dying bodies also; for these are Christ's, will be preserved by Christ till our earthly work is done, and be glorified with Christ in the final resurrection. Death--in us, but life in you; our labors, which constantly expose us to death, promote your eternal life. He does not deny that life works in himself also; but he wishes to exhibit his sufferings as contributing to their life as Christians: not the life of their souls only, but also that of their bodies, as verse 2Co 4:14 shows. As it is written; Ps 116:10.Believe, and--speak; the truths of the gospel, without being disheartened by any trials to which it exposes us. The moving spring of ministerial fidelity is such confidence in God as causes his declarations to appear true, and gives to unseen realities a commanding influence over their minds. Present us with you; spotless and faultless before the throne of his glory, with exceeding and eternal joy. All things; the whole of God's dealings with you. This he says with especial reference to the sufferings and triumphs of God's ministers, all of whom, not certain favorite leaders, are for their sakes.For your sakes; for their salvation and that of others, and thus for the glory of God. For which cause; because of the glorious hopes of the gospel and the glorious results of our labors.We faint not; under these labors and trials.Our outward man; our dying body.The inward man; the spiritual life and vigor of our souls. The endless glories which await faithful ministers and Christians, and for which their present trials are preparing them, are such that, in comparison, the latter are swallowed up and lost in the eternal greatness of the former.
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