The Ministry of the New Covenant
Read (2 Cor 4:1-3)
Having entrusted with the ministry of the new covenant, Paul assumed the responsibility of proclaiming the gospel everywhere. He was not discouraged by the shameful conduct of his enemies. He refused to practice cunning methods to distort the gospel but preached the truth before all (2 Cor 4:1-2). Truth is the objective facts about God which cannot be changed. It is revealed in the authoritative Word of God (Isaiah 45:19). If the gospel they preached was hidden, it was veiled to those who were perishing. The god of this world has blinded their minds to see the truth. They are unable to see the glorious light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Cor 4:4). Satan is the god of this world who controls the world system (Mat 4:8-9; 2 Tim 2:26). Satan shields the unbelievers from the light of the gospel of Christ. But God removes the veil from our eyes so that we are no longer blinded by unbelief.
Satan Blinds the Unbelievers
Read (2 Cor 4:4-6)
Satan opposes the work of God and does not want anyone to believe Christ. The unbelievers have difficulty to understand the gospel because Satan has blinded their minds to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. Only Christ can remove that blindness (2 Tim 2:24-25). Satan disguises himself as the angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). The gospel is the ultimate source of light. All other teachings will lead to spiritual blindness. Paul preached that Jesus Christ is Lord (2 Cor 4:5). God commanded the light to shine out of darkness in creation (Gen 1:3). In the new creation also, God illuminates our heart to see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:6). Jews looked for light, Greeks searched for knowledge and Romans wanted glory. Only in Christ the light of the knowledge of glory is revealed. The disciples saw that glory in the person of Christ (John 1:14). God graciously removes our blindness to see to live as children of light (1 Thess 5:5). The more we look to Jesus, the brighter his glory appears. Pray that God would help you to reflect his light to people living in spiritual darkness.
The Treasure in Jar of Clay
Read (2 Cor 4:7-18)
The gospel is entrusted with believers. They are compared to earthen vessels which are brittle and perishable. The gospel resides in men of clay so that everyone can see that our power is from God and is not our own (2 Cor 4:7). Paul says “We are afflicted but never crushed” because Jesus was crushed on their behalf (2 Cor 4:8; Isaiah 53:5). We may be perplexed but never despair. We may be persecuted but not forsaken because Jesus was forsaken in our place (Mark 15:34). We may be struck down, but not destroyed. The believers many experience death, but don’t be afraid because Jesus took the penalty of their sins and gives them resurrection life (2 Cor 4:10; 2 Tim 1:10). When we face trials, we could either become bitter or better. Our trials are to be understood as the “fellowship of Christ’s suffering” (Phil 3:10). Those who suffer with Christ will be glorified with Christ (Rom 8:17). Our trials could become witnessing opportunity for Christ (Acts 16:23-34). Paul endured suffering in his ministry, knowing that God who raised Jesus from the dead will bring believers with him into his presence. Everything Paul suffered for the gospel was for the benefit of Corinthians and for the glory of God. He offered his service as a thanksgiving to God for His grace toward him (2 Cor 4:15). The believers should not be discouraged because suffering is not the end of Christian life. Though our physical body is passing away, our inner man is being renewed every day (4:16). Our present afflictions are momentary. They prepare us for the eternal glory. The believers should look forward not to things that are transient but the things that are unseen and eternal (2 Cor 4:18).