Bible: 2 Corinthians 4-5

Paul’s Perseverance in Ministry

4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, just as God has shown us mercy, 1  we do not become discouraged. 2  4:2 But we have rejected 3  shameful hidden deeds, 4  not behaving 5  with deceptiveness 6  or distorting the word of God, but by open proclamation of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience before God. 4:3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, 4:4 among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe 7  so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel 8  of Christ, 9  who is the image of God. 4:5 For we do not proclaim 10  ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves 11  for Jesussake. 4:6 For God, who saidLet light shine out of darkness,” 12  is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge 13  of God in the face of Christ. 14 

An Eternal Weight of Glory

4:7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power 15  belongs to God and does not come from us. 4:8 We are experiencing trouble on every side, 16  but are not crushed; we are perplexed, 17  but not driven to despair; 4:9 we are persecuted, but not abandoned; 18  we are knocked down, 19  but not destroyed, 4:10 always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, 20  so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible 21  in our body. 4:11 For we who are alive are constantly being handed over to death for Jesussake, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible 22  in our mortal body. 23  4:12 As a result, 24  death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 25  4:13 But since we have the same spirit of faith as that shown in 26  what has been written, “I believed; therefore I spoke,” 27  we also believe, therefore we also speak. 4:14 We do so 28  because we know that the one who raised up Jesus 29  will also raise us up with Jesus and will bring us with you into his presence. 4:15 For all these things are for your sake, so that the grace that is including 30  more and more people may cause thanksgiving to increase 31  to the glory of God. 4:16 Therefore we do not despair, 32  but even if our physical body 33  is wearing away, our inner person 34  is being renewed day by day. 4:17 For our momentary, light suffering 35  is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison 4:18 because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

Living by Faith, Not by Sight

5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in, 36  is dismantled, 37  we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens. 5:2 For in this earthly house 38  we groan, because we desire to put on 39  our heavenly dwelling, 5:3 if indeed, after we have put on 40  our heavenly house, 41  we will not be found naked. 5:4 For we groan while we are in this tent, 42  since we are weighed down, 43  because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5:5 Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose 44  is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. 45  5:6 Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth 46  we are absent from the Lord 5:7 for we live 47  by faith, not by sight. 5:8 Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away 48  from the body and at home with the Lord. 5:9 So then whether we are alive 49  or away, we make it our ambition to please him. 50  5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, 51  so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil. 52 

The Message of Reconciliation

5:11 Therefore, because we know the fear of the Lord, 53  we try to persuade 54  people, 55  but we are well known 56  to God, and I hope we are well known to your consciences too. 5:12 We are not trying to commend 57  ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to be proud of us, 58  so that you may be able to answer those who take pride 59  in outward appearance 60  and not in what is in the heart. 5:13 For if we are out of our minds, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 5:14 For the love of Christ 61  controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ 62  died for all; therefore all have died. 5:15 And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. 63  5:16 So then from now on we acknowledge 64  no one from an outward human point of view. 65  Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, 66  now we do not know him in that way any longer. 5:17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away 67 look, what is new 68  has come! 69  5:18 And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 5:19 In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us 70  the message of reconciliation. 5:20 Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea 71  through us. We plead with you 72  on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God! 5:21 God 73  made the one who did not know sin 74  to be sin for us, so that in him 75  we would become the righteousness of God.

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