2 Corinthians 4

Glory Through Suffering SUMMARY OF II CORINTHIANS 4: Paul's Sincerity and Earnestness in the Ministry. The Eyes of Some Blinded by the God of the World. Troubles and Persecution Redound to the Glory of God. Paul's Sufferings for the Gospel's Sake. Exposed to Death in Order to Carry Life. The Present Affliction Working Glory. The Unseen Things Eternal.

Seeing we have this ministry. The ministry of the Spirit and of Life; of the new covenant, described in the preceding chapter.

As we have received mercy, we faint not. Although Paul was a persecutor, Christ had mercy on him and called him to the ministry. Hence, he was under obligations to "faint not", though meeting trouble and persecution.
But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty. This glorious ministry was under no "veil" and was not hidden. Its ministers must turn away from all dishonest practices or teachings. Paul intends to rebuke, by his example, the false and deceitful teachers who sought to bring the Corinthians under the old Jewish covenant.

Nor handling the word of God deceitfully. His enemies not only resorted to calumny, but perverted the word of the Lord by adulterating it with the elements of the law, of tradition, and with false ideas of Christ. See Ga 6:12,13.

Commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of

God. He presented the truth and made his appeal directly to the human conscience, that monitor which God has given to all men.
But if our gospel is hid. He has shown that there is no veil in Christ (2Co 3:16), and declared that he preached not things hidden by a veil (2Co 3:2). But the Judaizing opposers replied that his gospel was as much veiled to them as he said that the law was veiled to the Jews.

It is hid to them that are lost. He replies that it is only veiled to the lost, who are blinded by the god of this world. In order to understand the allusions the reader must keep in mind Paul's life-long contest with Judaism in the church. See notes on Ac 15:1 Ga 2:4.
The god of this world. See Joh 12:31,40 Php 3:19. Satan is called the prince of this world, and the god of this world.

Hath blinded the minds of them which believe not. By his devices he blinds the eyes of men so they should not see the light of gospel.

The image of God. He who would see God may see him in the face of Christ. See Joh 14:9.
We preach not ourselves. We have no self-seeking sins in preaching, but only seek to preach "Christ Jesus, the Lord". We know that Paul's preaching was perverted by his detractors. He called on the disciples to follow him as he followed Christ (1Co 11:1 4:16 7:6), and they asserted that he preached himself. Instead he made himself "the servant of all" for Christ's sake (1Co 9:19). For God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness. Ge 1:3.

Hath shone in our hearts. By bringing to the light of the gospel.

The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus

Christ. Knowledge is light. The glory of God is revealed in his Son, who hath shown for the divine excellency, tenderness and love.
We have this treasure in earthen vessels. The treasure of the knowledge of Christ and of the ministry of the gospel of life. Perhaps his enemies pointed to his sorrows as a proof that he was not so favored as a minister of Christ. A splendid treasure was placed in a fragile, cheap earthen vessel. Then it was manifest that the great work wrought was the power of God, and not from us, the apostles and evangelists. In these two verses are four pairs of contrasts which should the frailty of the instruments and the greatness of the power: (1)

Troubled on every side, yet not distressed. "pressed on every side" (Revised Version), but not hemmed in by the pressure. (2)

Perplexed, but not in despair. In apparently overwhelming difficulties, but never reduced to despair. (3)

Persecuted, but not forsaken. Persecuted by their enemies, but not forsaken and delivered over to them. (4)

Cast down, but not destroyed. Overthrown and cast to the earth, but even then rescued from the enemy, standing over them prostrate, so that they are not destroyed.
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus. Always bearing sufferings and danger of death, as the Lord died, so that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. So that we may carry the life which the Lord gives to others. In constant suffering and peril of death the apostle was the messenger of life. For we which live are always delivered unto death. This verse more fully explains the meaning of 2Co 4:10. The ministers of the gospel were always exposed to death, and at their cost bore the precious charge of life to men. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. The ever present image of death, threatening the gospel ministers, was the means of life to the saved. We having the same spirit of faith. Yet in spite of all the sufferings and peril described, we preach right on. Like the psalmist we are moved by the power of faith; we also believe, and therefore speak. See Ps 116:10. Knowing that he which raised the Lord Jesus, shall raise up us also. Assured that we shall all be raised and stand together before the Lord, we preach. This is our faith. If we die for Christ God will raise us. For all things [are] for your sakes. Our suffering, our dying daily, and the glorious hope, and the result of these things is that the thanksgiving of multitudes of the saved should "redound to the glory of God". For which cause. Moved by faith, hope, the love of souls and desire for the glory of God, we faint not; do not for a moment give way and relax our efforts.

Though our outward man is perished. Though our body waste away under the trials, or is threatened with death.

The inward [man]. The immaterial nature in contrast with the material body. See Ro 7:22 Eph 3:16.

Is renewed day by day. His spiritual strength is constantly renewed by Christ.
For our light affliction. Great as his afflictions were, he calls them light in view of the glorious reward they will bring; continual as they were, he speaks of them as but for a moment in view of eternity. They were the more easily borne for they worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory. Bearing the cross weaves an eternal crown. Sorrows endured for Christ's sake prepare for eternal joys. While we look not at things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. Our eyes are fixed on the unseen things beyond, the glory that the flesh cannot behold. Hence, we turn away from present afflictions as momentary, as belonging to the seen and the transient, and only regard them as adding to the weight of our unseen, eternal joys. Our goal is beyond.

For the things which are seen [are] temporal. All material things, and all that the world values, are perishing. All things of sense shall pass away; Caesar's greatness, the might of Roman power, the strength of man, the glory of the magnificence of Corinth; even the visible heavens and the earth.

But the things which are not seen [are] eternal. The things which the sense see not, but which faith reveals--God, heaven, the unseen spirit. Let the eye be turned upon the unseen, rather than the things of sense.
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