II Corinthians 4

 

 

                        The Glory of the Gospel Ministry (vs. 1-6)

 

 

The glory of the gospel ministry (vs. 1-6), which sustains the hearts of Christ’s

ministers among all weaknesses and trials (vs. 7-15), especially by the faith in

things unseen (vs. 16-18).

 

 

1  "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy,

we faint not;"  Therefore. Because of the freedom and open vision of the

gospel.  As we have received mercy.  Gratitude for a mercy so undeserved

(I Timothy 1:13) makes us fearless and vigorous in a ministry so glorious

(Acts 20:23-24).  We faint not. The word implies the maintenance of a holy

courage (I Corinthians 16:13) and perseverance (II Thessalonians 3:13).

It occurs again in v. 16, and in Luke 18:1; Galatians 6:9; Ephesians 3:13.

 

 

2 "But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in

craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by

manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s

conscience in the sight of God."  But have renounced;   rather, but we

renounced. We renounced them once and forever at our baptism. The hidden

things of dishonesty;– literally, of shame; meaning of all that causes shame. 

Disgraceful as may be calunmies of my Jewish opponents, I have said farewell for

ever to everything for which a good man would blush (it is my understanding

that blushing has an underlying moral cause - CY - 2018)   “Honest” was originally

like the Greek word καλὸς - kalos - a general expression for moral excellence, as

in Pope’s line:

 

“An honest man’s the noblest work of God.”

 

Fletcher’s —

 

“Man is his own star, and the soul that can

Be honest is the only perfect man.”

 

In craftiness.  The word implies all subtle cunning or underhand dealing (ch. 11:3),

and it is clear from ch.12:16 that Paul had been charged with such conduct. The

word is both used and illustrated in Luke 20:23.  Handling the word of God

deceitfully. Paul has already repudiated this charge by implication in ch. 2:17, and

he was always anxious to maintain an attitude of transparent sincerity (ch. 1:12)

by uttering the truth and the whole truth (Acts 20:27), and not adulterating

it.  He had to meet such insinuations even in his first extant letter (I Thessalonians

2:3).  But by manifestation of the truth.  What is the “truth”? “The Word of God.”

 Christ is  the Truth.” - truth as it is in Jesus”  - (Ephesians 4:21)  The constant

recurrence to this thought shows the apostle’s anxiety to remove the suspicion, created

by the attacks of his opponents, that he had an esoteric teaching for some (ch. 1:13),

and kept some of his doctrines in the background.  The truth” cannot be preached

by the aid of lies. The prominence of the word “manifest” in this Epistle is remarkable.

Paul seems to be haunted by it (chps.  2:16; 3:3; 4:10; 5:10-11; 7:12; 11:6) – The man

who preaches the truth under a consciousness of the Divine eye wilt be free from fear,

affectation, and from dullness.  Commending ourselves. This is the only form of

self-commendation or of “commendatory letter” for which I care. There is evidently

a reference to the same verb used in ch. 3:1. To every man’s conscience

in the sight of God. (see  ch. 1:17; 7:12; Galatians 1:20). These solemn appeals are

meant to show that it would be morally impossible for him to act as he was charged

with acting. If he can assert his own integrity he will do so only as consciously in

the presence of God.

 

 

 

The Character and Work of a True Minister of Christ (vs. 1-2)

 

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry,” etc. These words present to us a

true minister of Christ as he is in himself and in his labors, that is, his

character and work.

 

  • HIS CHARACTER. It is here suggested that his character is marked by

three things.

 

Ø      Its strength. “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have

received mercy, we faint not.” Having in mercy such a gospel as this to

preach, we are not disheartened. “We faint not;” on the contrary, we are

courageous. The character of every minister of Christ should be marked by

strength:

 

o        strength of conviction,

o        strength of principle.

 

Ø      Its purity. “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty,” or

rather, of “shame.” Every element and form of sin is a thing of “shame,” a

thing which makes the conscience blush. Falsehood, unchastity, meanness,

selfishness, dishonesty, are all things for shame and disgust. A true minister

has renounced all these things, he is thoroughly cleansed of them.

 

Ø      Its straightforwardness. “Not walking in craftiness.” No attribute of

character is more common, at the same time more morally ignoble and

anti-Christian, than artfulness or stratagem. Ministers of religion are

frequently charged with this “craftiness,” and the charge is, alas! too often

true. The craft of priests is notorious. Now, a true minister is free from

this; he is a man of:

 

o        frankness,

o        candor,

o        transparent honesty.

 

  • HIS WORK. How does he fulfil his mission? The answer is given here:

 

Ø      Negatively. “Not handling the Word of God deceitfully.” It is thus

handled when it is used to support a system, to advance a sect, to exhibit

self, to gain a living and to win popularity. He is not a true minister who

does this.

 

Ø      Positively. “By manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to

every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

 

o        He appeals to the conscience of humanity. “Every man’s conscience.”

Elsewhere Paul calls conscience the “inner man;” it is in truth the man

of the man, his moral self. It is thus he addresses himself, not merely to

the passion, or to the imagination, or to the intellect, but to that which

underlies and permeates every spiritual faculty of man.

 

o        He appeals to the conscience of humanity through THE TRUTH!

 “By manifestation of the truth.” What is the “truth”? “The Word

of God.” And that word, not as literature, but as life, the life of Christ.

He is the Truth.” It is “truth as it is in Jesus,” not in creeds or

Churches that he addresses to the conscience.

 

o        He appeals to the consciences of humanity, through the truth under the

felt inspection of Almighty God. “In the sight of God.” The man who

preaches the truth under a consciousness of the Divine eye wilt be free

from

 

§         fear,

§         affectation, and from

§         dullness.

 

 

3 "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:" But if our gospel

be hid. This is added to avoid the semblance of a contradiction. He has spoken of

manifestation of the truth,” and yet has spoken of all Jews as unable to

see it because they will not remove from their hearts the vail which hides it from them.

How can “a vailed gospel” be a “manifested truth”? The answer is that the gospel is

bright, but the eyes that should gaze on it are willfully closed. Similarly in ch. 2:16,

he has compared the gospel to a fragrance of life, yet to the doomed captives —

to the perishing” — it comes “like a waft from the charnel house.” A better

rendering would be, But even if our gospel (I Corinthians 15:1; Romans 2:16)

is a vailed one. it is vailed only among the perishing (compare I Corinthians 1:18).

Be hid; rather, has been vailed.   To them that are lost;  rather, to the perishing

(see note on ch. 2:15).   Unregenerated men are blind to the gospel, all the while

perishing in sin.  Soul-sin is a gradual process.  Souls are not ruined at once. The

wicked are going into everlasting punishment;” they are not hurled there at once;

step by step they proceed.   With every sin their sensibility of conscience is perishing,

their power of will is perishing, all the better tendencies of their nature are perishing.

It matters not how strong in body, how prosperous in wealth, how elevated in society,

they are perishing. Startlingly solemn this!

 

 4 "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe

not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should

shine unto them."  The God of this world; rather, the god of this age. It is, as Bengel

says, “a great and horrible description of the devil.” He is not, however, here called a

god of the kosmos, but only of the olam hazzeh, the present dispensation of things

as it exists among those who refuse to enter that kingdom in which the power of Satan

is brought to naught.  The melancholy attempt to get rid of Manichean arguments

by rendering the verse “in whom God blinded the thoughts of the unbelievers of

this world” is set aside by the fact that the terrible description of Satan as “another

god” (El acheer) was common among the rabbis. They knew that his power was

indeed a derivative power, but still that it was permitted to be great (Ephesians 2:2;

6:12). In John 12:31 and 14:30, our Lord speaks of him as “the ruler of the kosmos.”

Hath blinded.  The verb ἐτύφλωσεν - etuphlosen - from τυφλω - tuphloo -  here has

no other meaning than “to blind,” and is quite different from the verb ἐπωρώθη -

eporothae -  was calloused  from  πωρω - poroo - “to harden,” rendered by

to blind” in ch. 3:14 with the same substantive. They are blind from lack of faith, and

so being “unbelieving’’ they are “perishing” (Ephesians 5:6), seeing that they “walk

in darkness” (John 8:12) and are in Satan’s power (Acts 26:18).  Blindness of heart,”

says St. Augustine, “is both a sin and a punishment of sin and a cause of sin.” –

Unregenerate men are VICTIMIZED BY SATAN!  He closes the moral eye of the

soul, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ; rather, the illumination of the

gospel of the glory of the Christ. The word φωτισμὸς - photismos - image; lighting;

illumination - in later ecclesiastical Greek was used for “baptism.” Who is the image

of God (ch. 3:18; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3).  Should shine unto them.  Or, as

in the Revised Version, should dawn upon them. The other rendering, “that they

should not see the illumination,” gives to the verb αὐγάζω - augazo – dawn -  from  

a rarer sense, only found in poetry, and not known to the Septuagint. 

 

The gospel of Jesus Christ, when it is received aright, is a power to enlighten,

bless, and save. But to those who reject and despise it the gospel becomes the

occasion of condemnation and destruction.  Those things intended for man’s

welfare are often so perverted by sin that they become the occasion of the greatest

evils.  For instance: 

 

  • Sensuality often incapacitates for spiritual vision; for the more it makes a

            man sensitive to the attractions of carnal pleasure the mere it hinders his

            spiritual apprehensions and dulls his spiritual vision.  “the carnal mind

            is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither

            indeed can be.”  (Romans 8:6-8)

 

  • Worldliness fills the whole horizon of vision with the things of earth and

            time, and thus shuts out the shining of the true light which is from heaven.

 

  • The pride of human reason, which fancies itself to be independent and

            all-powerful, obscures in the case of many the rays of Divine truth which

            often reach the lowliest and the least esteemed among men.

 

  • The effects which this blindness produces in the minds of men.

 

ü      The glad tidings are regarded with indifference.

ü      Christ Himself, the very “Image of God,” is contemplated with

      aversion and repugnance. There is no spiritual sympathy to draw

      the soul to the holy and the gracious One; His very features 

      are regarded through a distorted medium.

ü      All spiritual execllences lose their charm, fail to awaken to

      admiration and emulation.

ü      The true condition in which they lie is altogether ignored and denied

      by the spiritually blind.

ü      For lack of light they perish; the spiritually and willfully blind doom

                        themselves to death.

 

Paul attributes these mischievous acts to Satan. 

 

 

 

The Condition of Unregenerated Men (vs. 3-4)

 

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” These words give an

appalling view of ungodly men.

 

  • THEY ARE BLIND TO THE GOSPEL. “If our gospel be hid [or,

veiled’].” Men have different organs of vision.

 

Ø      There is the bodily eye: the gospel is not “hid” from that — they

can see the volume that contains it, they can see the print, and perhaps

read its chapters.

 

Ø      There is the intellectual eye to discover its sense and discern its

meaning.

 

Ø      There is the spiritual eye, the conscience which discerns the moral

significance of things; this is the eye which alone can see the gospel,

its real essence. And this is the veiled eye, the eye of conscience is

closed, so that the gospel is no more discerned than the bright heavens

are observed by the man who is born blind.

 

  • THEY ARE PERISHING IN SIN. “It is hid to them that are lost,” or

veiled from them that are perishing. SOUL RUIN is a gradual process.

Souls are neither ruined nor saved at once. The wicked are “going into

everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46); they are not hurled there at once;

step by step they proceed. With every sin their sensibility of conscience is

perishing, their power of will is perishing, all the better tendencies of their

nature are perishing. It matters not how strong in body, how prosperous

in wealth, how elevated in society, they are perishing. Startlingly solemn this!

 

  • THEY ARE VICTIMIZED BY SATAN. “In whom the god of this world

hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” Observe:

 

Ø      Satan is not a principle, but a personality.

Ø      Satan has immense dominions. “The god of this world.” Satan is a

personality that has access to human souls. He enters men, acts on their

springs of thought and fountains of feeling.

Ø      Satan is a personality whose action on the soul is essentially pernicious

(having a harmful affect in a subtle way).  “The god of this world hath

blinded the minds of them which believe not.”  He closes the moral eye

of the soul, “lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is

the Image of God, should shine unto them.”

 

 

5 “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves

your servants for Jesus’ sake.” For we preach not ourselves.

Here is a sad possibility – to “preach ourselves.” To preach ourselves is to propound

our own notions, to exhibit our own talents, genius, and learning, to parade our own

productions. It is to put self, not Christ, in the front. In these days the egotism of the

pulpit has become all but intolerable.  Paul says:  There is no glory or illumination on

our faces, and we have no personal ends to gain, nor are we “lords” over your faith.

This is, perhaps, meant as an answer to some charge of egotism.  But Christ Jesus

 the Lord; rather, as Lord (Philippians 2:11; I Corinthians 12:3).   Preach Him as

the Mediator between God and man (I Timothy 2:5-6), preach Him as the great

Example for man’s imitation – (I Peter 2:21). Your servants; literally, your slaves

(I Corinthians 9:19).  For Jesus’ sake.  So had Christ Himself desired.  (Matthew

20:27)   

 

 

Preaching (v. 5)

 

“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.” Here is:

 

  • A SAD POSSIBILITY in preaching. What is that? To “preach

ourselves.” To preach ourselves is to propound our own notions, to exhibit

our own talents, genius, and learning, to parade our own productions. It is

to put self, NOT CHRIST, in the front. In these days the egotism of the

pulpit has become all but intolerable.

 

  • A GLORIOUS THEME for preaching. “Christ Jesus the Lord.”

 

Ø      Preach Him as the Mediator between God and man. He whose grand

mission it is to reconcile man to his Maker.

Ø      Preach him as the great Example for man’s imitation. He who

embodies the ideal of human perfection and blessedness.

 

  • THE RIGHT SERVICE in preaching. “Ourselves your servants for

Jesus’ sake.” The true preacher is:

 

Ø      The servant of souls.

Ø      The servant of souls inspired by love for Christ. “Servants for

Jesus’ sake.”

 

6 “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath

shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory

of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  Who commanded the light to shine out of

darkness.  The argument of the verse is that God, who created the material light

(Genesis 1:3) and who is the “Father of lights” (James 1:17) and sent His Son to be

the Light of the world (John 8:12), did not shine in our hearts for our sakes only, or

that we might hide the light under a bushel (Luke 11:33) for ourselves, but that we

might transmit and reflect it. There is an implied comparison between the creation of

light and the dawn of the gospel light, and each of these was MEANT  FOR THE

GOOD OF THE WORLD!  The verse should be rendered, if we follow the best

manuscripts, “Because it is God, who said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who

shone in our hearts for the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God.”   

In the face of Jesus Christ.  (see ch. 2:10; 3:7). Probably, however, there is a

reference to the glory of God, not as reflected the face of Christ, but as

concentrated in and beaming from it  (Hebrews 1:3).

 

                                                True Soul-Light (v. 6)

 

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in

our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of

Jesus Christ.” There are two lights in the soul. There is the light of nature. (see Psalm

19).  This light consists of those moral intuitions which Heaven implanted within us

at first. These intuitions are good enough for angels, did for Adam before he fell;

but now, through sin, they are so blunt and dim that the soul is in moral darkness:

“If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!.

(Matthew 6:23)  The other light is that of the light of the gospel. This comes because

the light of nature is all but gone out, and comes as essential to our spiritual well being.

This is the light to which the passage refers, the new soul light. The words call attention

to three facts concerning it:

 

  • IT EMANATES FROM THE HIGHEST SOURCE. “God, who commanded

      the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts.” The reference

      is here to the creation (Genesis 1:3). It reminds us:

 

ü      Of antecedent darkness. The state of the soul before this light enters

      it is analogous to the state of the earth before God kindled the lights of

      the firmament. It was cold, chaotic,dead. In what a sad condition is

      the unregenerate soul!

 

ü      Of Almighty Sovereignty. “Let there be light” — “Let light be, and

      light was.” The luminaries of the firmament were kindled by the free,

                        uncontrolled, almighty power of God. So it is with real spiritual light.

                        It comes because God wills it. Everywhere He worketh according to

                        the counsel of His own will.”  (Ephesians 1:11)

 

  • IT REVEALS THE GRANDEST SUBJECT. Light is a revealer. All the hues

      and forms, beauties and sublimities of the earth would be hid from us without

      the light. What does this soul light reveal? “The light of the knowledge of the     

      glory of God.” Gospel light entering the soul makes God visible as the eternal      

      Reality, the Fountain of being, and the Source of all blessedness. Where this       

      gospel light is not, the soul either ignores or denies Him; or, at most, speculates    

      about Him, and at best has now and then flitting visions. But under the radiance

      of the gospel, God is the Reality of all realities, the Fountain of all existences,    

      the Root of all the sciences. In this light they see God, and through Him they

      see and interpret His universe.

 

  • IT STREAMS THROUGH THE SUBLIMEST MEDIUM. “In the

            face of Jesus Christ.” There is undoubted allusion here to what is said of

            Moses (ch. 3:13) when the Divine glory was reflected on his face, and

            produced such a splendor and magnificence that the children of Israel could

            not steadfastly look upon it. The sense here is that, in the face or the person

            of Jesus Christ, the glory of God shone clearly, and the Divinity appeared       

            without a vail. This light coming through Christ, “who is the image of the           

            invisible God,” is:

 

ü      True light. He is the Truth.  The glory of the Eternal is not so much in

      His power and wisdom as in His moral attributes, His holiness, and love.

      The revelation of the Divine character is as light to His intelligent creation.

      It is welcome, cheering, illuminating, reviving.

 

ü      Softened light. The soul could not stand the light coming directly from

                        the infinite Source; it is too dazzling. Through the medium of Christ it

                        comes so softened as to suit our weakness.

ü      Quickening light. It falls on the soul like the sunbeam on the seed

                        quickening into life.  Jesus said “Walk in the light while ye have the                                

                        light.” (John 12:35) For God’s truth is profitable to all men, having the                              

                        faculty of directing those who will be led by it into paths of wisdom,                                 

                        peace, and life. We may and are to reflect it. The light of God is not                                  

                        absorbed by the soul that receives it. It is shed upon those who are

                        around. Christians are “the light of the world” – (Matthew 5:14) and

                         are “light bearers,” through whose agency the earth is to be filled with                             

                        the radiance of spiritual and immortal noon.

 

 

  The Glory of the Ministry in the Midst of Its Weakness and Suffering (vs. 7-15)

 

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may

be of God, and not of us.”  In earthen vessels.   The glorious light which we have

to show to the world is, like Gideon’s torches, carried in earthen pitchers.  (Judges 7)

The word σκεύεσιν skeuesin - vessels  from σκεῦος -  skeuos -  vessel, is used in

Mark 11:16,  and “vessels of earthenware” in Rev. 2:27. Paul, in Acts 9:15, is called

a vessel of election.”  Man can never be more than an earthen vessel, being frail and

humble, and the metaphor specially suits an apostle of Christ (see I Corinthians 2:3-5;

II Timothy 2:20). But when he takes the Word of life from the earthen pitcher and

waves it in the air, it illuminates all on whom the light shines. No commentator seems

to have seen the probable allusion to Gideon’s pitchers. It is the “light,” of which he

has been speaking exclusively in the last verses, which constitutes the “treasure.”

Those who suppose that the “treasure” is gold or silver or something else of value,

refer to Jeremiah 32:14, and Herod., 3:103; Pers., ‘Sat.,’ 2:10. The excellency;

literally, the excess or abundance.  Of God, and not of us;  rather, of God, and

not from us.  To whom have the inestimable truths of the gospel been entrusted for

exposition, enforcement, and distribution? Not to angels, but to frail and dying men.

They have frail bodies. They are subject to infirmity, exhaustion, decay.  They have

frail minds.  The most vigorous in intellect is weak, the most lofty in genius is feeble,

the most enlightened is ignorant.  The grand reason why frail men are employed to

preach the gospel is that the glorious renovating and soul saving effects may evidently

appear as the work of God, and not of man.  (The first sermon preached by Bro.

John Christian at Second Baptist Church when he became pastor in 1971 was

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts”

 [Zechariah 4:6] – CY – 2010)  

 

 

 

The True Gospel Ministry (v. 7)

 

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels.”   The words lead us to consider the

true gospel ministry in various aspects.

 

  • AS CONTAINING AN INESTIMABLE TREASURE. The gospel is a

system of incalculable worth. The most valuable things in nature are

employed to represent it:

 

Ø      water,

Ø      light,

Ø      life.

 

There are four criteria that determine the worth of a thing:

 

Ø      rarity,

Ø      utility,

Ø      duration, and

Ø       the appreciation of the highest authorities.

 

All these applied to the gospel demonstrate its surpassing value.

 

  • AS THE SERVICE OF FRAGILE MEN. “In earthen vessels.” To

whom have the inestimable truths of the gospel been entrusted for

exposition, enforcement, and distribution? Not to angels, but to frail and

dying men.

 

Ø      They have frail bodies. They are subject to infirmity, exhaustion, decay,

etc.

Ø      They have frail minds. The most vigorous in intellect is weak, the most

lofty in genius is feeble, the most enlightened is ignorant.

 

  • AS DEVELOPING A DIVINE PURPOSE. “That the excellency of

the power may be of God, and not of us.” The grand reason why frail men

are employed to preach the gospel is that the glorious renovating and soul

saving effects may evidently appear as the work of God, and not of man.

When sermons prove effective in converting souls, it is not because of the

originality of their thought, the force of their logic, the splendor of their

rhetoric, or the majesty of their eloquence, but because of the Divine

power that accompanies them. “Not by might, nor by power, but by

my spirit saith the Lord.”  (Zechariah 4:6)

 

8 “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not

in despair.”  Troubled; afflicted, as in ch. 1:4. On every side; in everything.

Distressed; rather, driven to straits. Perplexed, but not in despair. In the

original is a beautiful paronomasia, which might, perhaps, be represented in English

by “pressed, but not oppressed.”  Literally the words mean, being at a loss, but not

 utterly at a loss. In the special anguish of trial of which he spoke in ch.1:8 (comp.

ch. 7:5), he was indeed for a time “utterly at a loss,” reduced to utter despair; but in

the normal conditions which he here describes he always, as it were, saw some

outlet out of his worst perplexities. 

 

9 “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

Not forsaken.  Paul, like the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, knew by

blessed experience the truth of the promise, “I will never leave thee nor forsake

thee (Hebrews 13:5-6).  “Cast down.  Flung to the ground, as in some lost battle;

yet not doomed, not “perishing.” “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast

down, for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand” (Psalm 37:23-25). 

 

10 “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that

the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”  The dying of the

Lord Jesus; - literally, the putting to death (Vulgate, mortificatio). This is even

stronger than ch. 1:5. It is not only “the sufferings,” but even “the dying,” of

Christ of which His true followers partake (Romans 8:36, “For thy sake

 are we killed all the day long”).  Paul, who was “in deaths oft” (ch.11:23),

was thus being made conformable unto Christ’s death (Philippians 3:10). Philo, too,

compares life to “the daily carrying about of a corpse,” and the Cure d’Ars used to

speak of his body as “ce cadavre.” – Regardless of the trials encountered in life,

they are not beyond bearing.  Paul got support from God under his trials and

SO WILL WE!  “My grace is sufficient for thee:  for my strength is made perfect

in weakness” (ch. 12:9) – God has promised  “As thy days, so shall thy strength

be (Deuteronomy 33:25) - that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest

in our body.” The thought is exactly the same as in II Timothy 2:11, “If we be dead

with Him, we shall also live with Him.”  God exhibits death in the living, that He

may also exhibit LIFE IN THE DYING!

 

11 “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake,

that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”

For Jesus’ sake.  Paul constantly thus repeats the name of Jesus, as one who

felt its sweetness. The verse contains a reassertion and amplification of what he

has just said.  In our mortal flesh.  This is added almost by way of climax. The

life of Jesus is manifested, not only “in our body, but even by way of triumph

in its lowest and poorest element. God manifests life in our dying, and death

in our living (Alford). 

 

12 “So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” - The life of us apostles is a

constant death (Romans 8:36); but of this daily dying you reap the benefits; our

dying is your living; our afflictions become to you a source of consolation and joy

(ch.1:6; Philippians 2:17). 

 

 

Trials in the Cause of Christ (vs. 8-12)

 

“We are troubled on every side,” etc. Three remarks are suggested.

 

  • THAT THE TRIALS ENCOUNTERED IN THE CAUSE OF CHRIST

ARE SOMETIMES VERY GREAT. Hear what Paul says about his trials:

“We are troubled on every side.” He speaks of himself as hemmed in by

enemies, pursued by enemies, stricken down by enemies, and dragging

about with him, as it were, a living corpse. It may be laid down as a

principle, that the man who is earnestly engaged in any righteous cause in

this world will have to encounter trials. (“Yea, all that will live godly in

Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”  II Timothy 3:12)  The old prophets

had their trials, some of them were insulted, some incarcerated, some martyred.

So with John the Baptist, and so with the apostles, so with the confessors,

reformers, and genuine revivalists.

 

  • THAT, HOWEVER GREAT THE TRIALS ENCOUNTERED, THEY

ARE NOT BEYOND BEARING. The apostle says that although

troubled on every side, yet not distressed,” or straitened; though

perplexed, or bewildered, yet not benighted; though “persecuted,” or

pursued, yet not “forsaken,” or abandoned; though “cast down,” or

stricken down with a blow, yet not perishing. The idea is that he had

support under his trials; they did not entirely crush him. The true laborer

in the cause of Christ, however great his trials, is always supported:

 

Ø      By the approbation of his own conscience.

Ø      By the encouraging results of his own labors.

Ø      By the sustaining strength of God.As thy days, so thy strength shall

be.”  (Deuteronomy 33:25)

 

  • THAT THE RIGHT BEARING OF THESE TRIALS SUBSERVES

THE GOOD OF SOULS.

 

Ø      In the right bearing of these sufferings the sufferer reveals the life of

Christ to others. “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord

Jesus.” (v. 10)  Rightly endured sufferings bring the sufferer so near to the

sufferings of Christ that he is in a sense a sharer of those sufferings, and

hence in them the life of Jesus is made manifest. Who that has witnessed

the true Christian languishing on the bed of suffering and death has not

seen the spirit of the life of Christ revealed?

 

Ø      In the right bearing of these sufferings the sufferer promotes in himself

and others the Christian life. “For we which live are always delivered unto

death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in

our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” (vs. 11-12) 

“God,” says Dean Alford, “exhibits death in the living, that he may also

exhibit life in the dying.”

 

13 “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed,

and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.” 

We; rather, But we. The same spirit of faith. This quotation is from Psalm 116:10,

a psalm which corresponded with Paul’s mood because it was written in trouble

sustained by faith.  And this faith inspires him with the conviction that, after

the body of this death,” and after this death in life, there should begin for him

also the life in death.  Paul says nothing as to the authorship of the psalm, which

probably belongs to a period far later than that of David. The words are from the

Septuagint, and seem fairly to represent the disputed sense of the original.

 

 

The Speech of True Faith (v. 13)

 

“We having the same spirit of faith,” etc. The world is full of speech.

Human words load the atmosphere. All the speeches may be divided into

three classes.

 

1. Speech without faith. Vapid and volatile talk.

2. Speech with wrong faith. Wrong faith is of two descriptions.

  1. Faith in wrong subjects. Men believe errors.
  2. Improper faith in right subjects. Weak wavering, etc.

3. Speech with true faith. Take the true faith as faith in Christ. In Him, not

in propositions concerning Him, propositions either including doctrines or

facts. I offer three remarks concerning the speech of this faith.

 

  • IT IS INEVITABLE. The man who truly believes in Christ feels that

necessity is laid upon him,” that he “cannot but speak the things seen and

heard.” Such is the influence of faith on man’s social sympathies that his

emotions become irrepressible.

 

IT IS RATIONAL.  But he who really has faith in Christ can give

reasons for his convictions in language clear as the day. It is the lack of

true faith that makes our sermons hazy.

  • IT IS STRONG. True faith in Christ is the strongest of all

convictions, and a strong conviction will always have a strong

utterance. The words will be free and full.

 

14 “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also

by Jesus, and shall present us with you.”  Which raised up the Lord Jesus

(see I Corinthians 6:14).  Shall raise up us also.  The thought is again expressed

in Romans 8:11. As he is here alluding mainly to the resurrection from the dead,

it is clear that he contemplated the possibility of dying before Christ’s second

coming (compare I Thessalonians 4:15-16).  By Jesus.  The reading supported

by nearly all the best manuscripts is “with Jesus” (א, B, C, D, E, F, G), which

perhaps appeared unsuitable to the copyists. But Christians are “risen with Christ”

here (Colossians 2:12; 3:1); and in another sense also we rise with him, because

the Church is “the body of Christ” (I Corinthians 15:23). Shall present us with

you.  Jude speaks of “God our Saviour as able “to present us” before the

presence of His glory (Jude 1:24-25). 

 

15 “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through

the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”   All things are for your

sakes. Paul has already implied that his life is not his own (ch. 1:6; compare

I Corinthians 3:22-23), and he recurs to the same thought in Colossians 1:24, and

repeats once again towards the close of his life: “I endure all things for the

elect’s sakes” (II Timothy 2:10). Might ... redound. The verb περισσός perissos - 
redundantly, redound, more than sufficient, superfluous, abundantly, greater than
 may mean either “I abound”

or “I make to abound” as in ch.9:8 and Ephesians 1:8. Here, περισσεύσῃ -

perisseusaeshould be super-abounding, there is a similar thought to

that expressed in ch. 1:11, and the best rendering is, In order that the Divine

favor, being multiplied through the greater number (of those who share in it),

may make the thanksgiving (which it excites) abound to the honor of God.

 

 

Soul-Inspiring Facts (vs. 14-15)

 

“Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise up us also by

Jesus.”  There are four glorious facts here:

 

  • THAT CHRIST WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD. “Knowing that He

which raised up the Lord Jesus.” “No fact in history,” says Dr. Arnold, “is

more firmly established by argument than this.”

 

  • THAT THE GENUINE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST WILL ALSO BE

RAISED. “Shall raise up us also by [with] Jesus, and shall present us with

you.” Raised as He was raised, and all be presented together.

 

  • THAT ALL THINGS ARE FOR GOOD TO THE GOOD. “All

things are for your sakes.” “We know that all things shall work together

for good,” (Romans 8:28).   “All things are yours.”  (I Corinthians 3:22)

 

  • THAT ALL THINGS IN LIFE SHOULD RESULT IN THE TRUE

WORSHIP OF GOD. “That the abundant grace might through the

thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.” It is only in Worship

that the soul can find the free and harmonious development of all its

spiritual powers. Worship is heaven. It is not the means to an end; it is the

sublimest end of being.

 

                        The Christian Minister is Upheld by Hope (vs. 16-18)

 

16 “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish,

yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”  Knowing that our daily death is

the pathway to eternal life (v. 14).  We faint not (see v. 1). Though; rather, even if.

Our outward man.  Our life in its human and corporeal conditions.  perish” – that

is, our life in its human and physical conditions.  The inward man.  Namely, our

moral and spiritual being, that “new man which is renewed (by faith and hope)

in knowledge after the image of Him that created him” (Colossians 3:10).

Is renewed; literally, is being renewed; i.e. by faith and hope. Day by day.

The Greek phrase is not classical, but is a reminiscence of the Hebrew.

Man has a duality of nature – the outward and the inward.  Unbeknownst to

most of us, this inward is THE MAN OF THE MAN.  The outward

man is the one which decays (and am I feeling it at 66 years of age but thanks be

to God, “the inward man is renewed day by day” through prayer, Bible study and

a walk with God as Enoch walked – [Genesis 5:24 – CY – 2010)   (Now I am

74 and physically, I am not the man I was in 2010, but my inward man is being

renewed from day to day with all the thanks being unto God!  CY – 2018)

All life seems to require exercise. Even the productions of the vegetable world

cannot grow without it; though they cannot move themselves, they are moved

by the breezes of heaven.  Animal life requires it, and the soul must have it in order

to grow. It must “exercise itself unto godliness.” (I Timothy 4:7) - “They that wait

upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as

eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” 

(Isaiah 40:31)

 

17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more

exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” For our light affliction, which is but for a

moment; literally, for the immediate lightness of our affliction. Worketh for us. Is

bringing about for us, with all the immeasurable force of a natural and progressive

law.  A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; literally, in excess unto excess.     

For the phrase, “to excess” — characteristic, like other emotional expressions, of this

group of Epistles - see ch. 1:8; Galatians 1:13. The word “eternal” is in antithesis to

the “for a moment.” The “weight” is suggested by the “lightness,” and possibly also

by the fact that in Hebrew the word for “glory” also means “weight.” The general

contrast is found also in Matthew 5:12; I Peter 5:10; Hebrews 12:10; Romans 8:18

which says “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy

to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” The apostle here

seems to struggle after the strongest language to express his idea of the transcendent

blessedness that awaits the Christly man.  The frequent resemblances between this

Epistle and that to the Romans are natural when we remember that they were written

within a few months of each other.  This Divine discipline, Paul learned, and we are

learning, through the stress of earthly sorrow and the lapse of laborious years.  There

is a purpose in human life  and the  light affliction (to us going through it, it does not

seem so) but in comparison to the “exceeding and eternal weight of glory” it will seem

as nothing.  Affliction is “transitory” but our future is GLORY ETERNAL AND

LIFE WITH GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST! 

 

18 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are

not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are

not seen are eternal.”  While we look not at the things which are seen. The Greek

suggests more of a reason, “Since we are not gazing at things visible” (see ch. 5:7).

Things which are not seen. The negative is the subjective negative. It expresses not

only the fact that now these things are not seen, but that it is their nature to be unseen

by the bodily eyes. Temporal. That is, temporary, transitory, phantasmal, a passing

world (I John 2:15-17); for which reason we do not fix our gaze or our aim upon it.

But the  things which are not seen are eternal.  The clause is important, as showing

that eternity is not a mere extension of time, but a condition qualitatively different

from time. The “things eternal” exist as much now as they will ever do. We are as

much living in eternity now as we ever shall be. The only difference will be that we

shall then see Him who is now unseen, (Revelation 22:4) and realize the things

which now are only visible to the eye of faith.  Christians are deeply and supremely

interested in things eternal. Over them decay, time, and death have no power;

of them the glorious things of earth can give but the promise and the earnest.  Thus

shall strength be experienced to endure what is appointed for us to bear on earth;

and thus shall an aspiring hope anticipate the glory which shall hereafter be

revealed.   GOD IS ETERNAL and these things belong to a KINGDOM which

CANNOT BE MOVED!

 

 

 

he Afflictions of Christly Men (vs. 17-18)

 

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far

more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the

things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things

which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

These words suggest a few thoughts concerning the afflictions of Christly

men.

 

  • They are COMPARATIVELEY “light” and “momentary.” They are

light:”

 

Ø      Compared with what they deserve.

Ø      Compared with what others have endured.

Ø      Compared, with the blessedness that is to follow. They are momentary,

but for a moment.” Momentary compared

o       with the enjoyments of this life; compared

o       with the endless blessedness of the future.

 

  • That, though light and momentary, they WORK OUT GLORIOUS

RESULTS. They issue in what? “A far more exceeding and eternal weight

of glory.” What is the affliction to the glory?

 

Ø      The one is “light;” the other is weighty. Put all the afflictions of the

whole Church against the everlasting glory of one Christly soul, and how

light!

 

Ø      The one is momentary; the other is eternal. “Eternal weight of glory.”

But the result is not only an eternal weight of glory, but “far more

exceeding.” No expression could be stronger than this. The apostle

here seems to struggle after the strongest language to express his idea

of the transcendent blessedness that awaits THE CHRISTLY MAN!

 

  • That they work out these glorious results BY THE REALIZATION

OF SPIRITUAL AND ETERNAL REALITIES. “While we look not at the

things which are seen… for the things which are seen are temporal.”

Observe:

 

Ø      That there are things invisible to the bodily eye that can be seen by the

soul. There are two classes of invisible things:

 

o        those that are essentially invisible, such as thoughts, spirits, God; and

 

o        those that are contingently invisible, such as those things that are

visible in their nature, but, through minuteness, distance, or some

other cause, are at present invisible. It is to the first of these that the

apostle refers — things that are essentially invisible to the bodily eye.

The soul can see thoughts, moral intelligences, and the great God.

 

Ø      That the things that can be seen only by the soul are not temporal, but

eternal. We talk about the everlasting mountains, eternal sun, etc.; but

there is nothing that is seen is lasting — all is passing away. Moral

truths are imperishable; spiritual existences are immortal;

GOD IS ETERNAL!  These are things belonging to a kingdom

that cannot be moved.

 

Ø      That the things that are seen only by the soul are the things that, if

realized, will make this mortal life issue in transcendent good.

 

 

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