II Corinthians 4

A steadfast adherence to the truths of the Gospel, backed by constancy and sincerity, will commend the servant of God to the opinion of wise men. They should not be of proud spirit, but realize that they themselves are but vessels of little worth and in their perplexities for Christ’s sake let them know that God is able to support them and in Him they should ever trust and hope.

1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

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.

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

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.

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

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

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

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

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.

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.

12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

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;

14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

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.

2 Corinthians 4:1-6 – ​God’s Glory Reflected in Christ

   The servant of Christ must never forget that he once needed and obtained mercy. This will sustain him in many an hour when heart and flesh fail. His weapon is the truth, his appeal to conscience. Others may vie with him in brilliant imagination, fervid enthusiasm, and intellectual force, but he has unrivaled supremacy in the realm of conscience. As Richard I of England, immured in a castle-dungeon, recognized the voice and song of his troubadour, singing outside the castle gate a strain familiar to them both, and responded note for note, so does conscience awaken and respond to the truth, which it recognizes as the voice of God.
   Why, then, does the gospel fail? Not through any defect in itself, nor because of some arbitrary decree on the part of God, but because the god of this world has blinded the eyes of the heart by the glamour of worldly prosperity and success, or perhaps by the covering film or scale of evil habit, so that the light of the dawn, stealing over the world, is unable to penetrate the darkened life. —Through the Bible Day by Day

2 Corinthians 4:7-18 – ​The Inward Life Triumphant over Affliction

   Few men have been more conscious of their weakness than was the Apostle. The earthen vessel had become very cracked and scratched, but the heavenly treasure was unimpaired, as in the case of Gideon, when the pitcher was broken the lantern shone out. Paul here confesses that he was troubled, perplexed, persecuted, and cast down, always bearing the scars of Jesus, and being perpetually delivered over to death. But he gratefully accepted all these disabilities because he knew that they gave greater opportunities to Jesus to show forth, through him, His resurrection power. With the daily decay of the outward, there came the renewal of the unseen and spiritual. It is only in proportion as we are conformed to the sufferings and death of Christ that we begin to realize the fullness of what He is, and what He can be or do through us. Our one thought must always be the glory of Christ in the salvation of others.
   Note the contrasts of II Corinthians 4:17. The affliction is light, but the glory of the future is fraught with radiant and satisfying blessedness. The one is transient, the other eternal. The one is the price of the other, though each is the gift of God. The comet which has gone farthest into the outer darkness returns closest to the central sun. —Through the Bible Day by Day

II Corinthians 4:18—While we look… at the things which are not seen.

​   We are here bidden to look through the things which are seen; to consider them as the glass window through which we pass to that which is behind and beyond. You do not waste your time by admiring the frame or casket of some rare jewel, but penetrate to the jewel itself; so, day by day, look through the material and transient to the eternal purpose, the Divine idea, the deep that lieth under.
   “All visible things,” said Carlyle, “are emblems. What thou seest is not there on its own account; strictly speaking, is not there at all. Matter exists only spiritually, and to represent some idea and body It forth.” This is an exaggerated way of stating the old saying, ***“Everything that is, is double.”*** Both, however, illustrate the affirmation of the text.
   Look for God’s thought in all the incidents, circumstances, and objects of your daily life. Do not stop at the outward; penetrate to the inward and eternal. Beneath that bitter physical suffering there are stores of Divine fortitude and grace. Beneath that trying dispensation there are celestial compensations. Beneath those sweet family ties there are suggestions of love and friendship, which can never grow old or pass away. Beneath the letter of Scripture is the spirit; beneath the ordinance, oneness with the loving Savior; beneath the world of nature, the processes of the eternal husbandry.
   When such is the attitude of the soul, afflictions, that might otherwise have weighed as heavy, become light; and those that drag through long and tedious years, seem but for a moment. And without exception, they all go to produce that receptivity of character that can contain the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. —Our Daily Homily