|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-7 The best of men would faint, if they did not receive mercy from God. And that mercy which has helped us out, and helped us on, hitherto, we may rely upon to help us even to the end. The apostles had no base and wicked designs, covered with fair and specious pretences. They did not try to make their ministry serve a turn. Sincerity or uprightness will keep the favourable opinion of wise and good men. Christ by his gospel makes a glorious discovery to the minds of men. But the design of the devil is, to keep men in ignorance; and when he cannot keep the light of the gospel of Christ out of the world, he spares no pains to keep men from the gospel, or to set them against it. The rejection of the gospel is here traced to the wilful blindness and wickedness of the human heart. Self was not the matter or the end of the apostles' preaching; they preached Christ as Jesus, the Saviour and Deliverer, who saves to the uttermost all that come to God through him. Ministers are servants to the souls of men; they must avoid becoming servants to the humours or the lusts of men. It is pleasant to behold the sun in the firmament; but it is more pleasant and profitable for the gospel to shine in the heart. As light was the beginning of the first creation; so, in the new creation, the light of the Spirit is his first work upon the soul. The treasure of gospel light and grace is put into earthen vessels. The ministers of the gospel are subject to the same passions and weaknesses as other men. God could have sent angels to make known the glorious doctrine of the gospel, or could have sent the most admired sons of men to teach the nations, but he chose humbler, weaker vessels, that his power might be more glorified in upholding them, and in the blessed change wrought by their ministry.
Verse 1. - Therefore. Because of the freedom and open vision of the gospel. As we have received mercy. Gratitude for a mercy so undeserved (1 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 (1 Corinthians 16:13) and perseverance (2 Thessalonians 3:13). It occurs again in ver. 16, and in Luke 18:1; Galatians 6:9; Ephesians 3:13.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore seeing we have this ministry,.... The apostle having largely insisted on the difference between the law and the Gospel, the ministration of the one and of the other, proceeds to give an account of his own conduct, and that of his fellow apostles and ministers: "we", says he, "faint not"; under all the reproaches cast upon us, persecutions raised against us, and tribulations that attend us; we do not sink in our spirits, or give out from the ministry; we go on cheerfully in our work, in the thee of all opposition, encouraged by the consideration of the excellency of the ministry, which they had from the Lord, were put into, and continued in; which was so valuable in itself, and so useful in its effects; being the ministration of the Spirit and of righteousness, having in it such an excelling glory to the law, and attended with so much light and liberty: to which he adds the consideration of the mercy of God they were partakers of,
as we have received mercy; which may refer either to the grace and mercy of God, which they had received in conversion; a sense of which abiding upon them, so influenced their minds, to hold forth the riches of abounding grace and mercy to poor sinners in the Gospel, that nothing could deter them from it; or to the grace, favour, and good will of God, in making, supporting, and continuing them as ministers of the word; all which, they were sensible, was owing not to men, but God; not to their merit, but to his mercy; not to their worthiness, parts, learning, &c. but to his free gift, favour, and grace, by which only they were what they were, as preachers of the Gospel.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2Co 4:1-18. His Preaching Is Open and Sincere, though to Many the Gospel Is Hidden.
For he preaches Christ, not himself: the human vessel is frail that God may have the glory; yet, though frail, faith and the hope of future glory sustain him amidst the decay of the outward man.
1. Therefore—Greek, "For this cause": Because we have the liberty-giving Spirit of the Lord, and with unveiled face behold His glory (2Co 3:17, 18).
seeing we have this ministry—"The ministration of the Spirit" (2Co 3:8, 9): the ministry of such a spiritual, liberty-giving Gospel: resuming 2Co 3:6, 8.
received mercy—from God, in having had this ministry conferred on us (2Co 3:5). The sense of "mercy" received from God, makes men active for God (1Ti 1:11-13).
we faint not—in boldness of speech and action, and patience in suffering (2Co 4:2, 8-16, &c.).
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