William Kelly Major Works Commentary
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;2 Corinthians Chapter 4
The apostle returns to the manner and spirit of his service in the gospel. Such a hope, such glory, demands and by grace inspires good courage, as well as conduct, of a divine sort. "On this account, having this ministry, according as we obtained mercy, we faint* not, but refused the hidden things of shame, not walking in deceit, nor guilefully using the word of God, but by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every conscience of men in the sight of God. But if even our gospel is veiled, in those that perish it is veiled, in whom the god of this age blinded the minds [or, thoughts] of the faithless, that the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is [the] image of God, should not shine forth." (Vers. 1-4.)
* The more ancient MSS. read (some ἐνκ.) ἐγκακοῦμεν, the great mass (some old) ἐκκ., and the critics, as well as lexicographers. fancy a difference of reading and word, where there seems but variety in spelling. Thus Dean Alford takes ἐνκ. as not "shrinking back," quailing, or acting cowardly; while he assigns to ἐκκ. the sense of "fainting." But he is not consistent, for, though he reads ἐγκ. in Luke 18:1, he rightly treats it as "fainting." so also in Galatians 6:9, Ephesians 3:18, 2 Thessalonians 3:14. In Polyb. iv. 19, 10 it is properly the same (not ἐξ., but ἐνεκάκησαν), the Lacedemonians failed to send, not that they behaved badly, etc. They were faint-hearted about it. Liddell and Scott, as well as Rost and Palm, should revise the words, or rather word. I see Bishop Ellicott had been before me in coming to a judgment which I had formed independently.
It was not only the surpassing and abiding excellence of this ministry, but the possession of it, which touched the heart with the sense of divine mercy, and took away all disposition to be craven-hearted in presence of the gravest difficulties, and the keenest and constant sufferings. It is true that the Corinthians knew but little of such experience, but therefore was it the more needful that the apostle, who knew little else here below, should bring it out clearly. On the other hand, men admire cleverness in baffling adversaries, and in evading dangers or difficulties, alas! too often in glossing over what cannot bear the light, and in turning aside the edge of what exposes and condemns. Here also the saints at Corinth were not without the contagion of their city and its schools. Could they, like the apostle, say that they refused the secret things of shame? - that they did not walk in trickery? - that they did not falsify the word of God? Some among them certainly gave too much appearance of being thus lacking in the faith that counts on God, and declines secret influence, and shrewd, if not unscrupulous, plans after the flesh. The ways of the servant should harmonise with His blessed service, as they did in Paul's case, leaving to the children of darkness all that shrinks from the light, which it does not suit, no less than evil surmisings of the good they cannot sympathise with. It is not only what is scandalous, but all cunning, which is abhorrent to Christ, who needs nothing that is not of the Spirit. And if Satan lures us to the path of selfseeking, the desire to win others soon slips from hesitation into a guileful handling of that word which breathes only light and love, like its source.
The apostle, far from uncertainty in his own soul, acted and spoke in the consciousness of divine authority, as he says, "by the manifestation of the truth" (what a blessing in a world of darkness!) "commending ourselves to every conscience of men in the sight of God." Activity of mind, which likes to propagate its ideas, and to produce common action, was not wanting at Corinth; but where was this conscious possession of truth which formed the ways in accordance with it, an cl sought no other influence, but only thus in love to appeal to conscience in God's sight? To shine before men, to gain applause, to have a party, are snares to avoid, unworthy of Christ's servants. To seek, or even to receive, glory one of another, instead of seeking the glory which is from the only God, is the ruin of faith, and wrought not in the Jewish unbeliever, but in many a Corinthian believer. The apostle, in unwearied love, and unquailing before difficulties, and unflinching in candour, pressed the truth in season, out of season, whether men heard or forbore, assured that, while he preached as in God's presence, every conscience bowed inwardly, even if the will were set on its own way in defiance of God.
Moreover, the vividness of the heavenly vision, to which he was not disobedient, reproduced itself by the Spirit in his evangelising. All was out, without disguise, radiant with the light of heaven and the glory of the Christ he had seen on high. Hence he could add, that even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in the perishing, in whose case the god of this age blinded the minds of the faithless. He had no veil like Moses: the gospel effectually repudiates it - at least the gospel as he and his fellows preached it. As he believed, so he preached. There was for him no affectation of depth or sublimity. The truth needs no arts to set it off. Nothing else is so lofty, nothing else so deep. It is Christ, the Word, who was God and yet was made flesh, life eternal yet dying for sinners, who descended into the lower parts of the earth, and also ascended up above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. If such glad tidings were veiled, they were veiled in the lost, not by those that preached the truth. In their case, the god of this age blinded the thoughts, or understandings, of the unbelieving. It was no defect in the truth, nor obscurity in the message from God, nor insincerity in the messenger, who gave it out as purely as he received it.
Alas! there is a subtle and energetic adversary of God and man; there are men who have not faith but passions and lusts, which expose them to his influence in blinding them to the truth. And such are all by nature since sin ruined mankind, till grace work repentance to acknowledgment of the truth. But men who are feeble in owning the power of the Spirit are apt to be slow to perceive Satan's workings; and controversial zeal increases this unscriptural bias. Hence we see that the fathers in general, early and late, Greek and Latin, misapplied this simple and weighty statement of scripture, and denied the devil to be meant here, construing it as God blinding the minds of the unbelievers of this age! (See Cranmer's Cat. Patr. Gr. v., 373, 374, Oxon. 1844; Iren. Haer. iv. 392; Tert. advers. Marc. 11; Aug. c. adv. Leg. iii., vii. 29.) Hilary, in his zeal against the Arians, and among the Greeks, Chrysostom, would not allow Satan to be called god of this age, lest it might tell against the deity of Christ; and so OEcumenius and Theodoret, etc., down to Theophylact; as others, like Origen, against other early heretics, Marcionites, Manicheans, etc. It is instructive as a plain proof of patristic shallowness, where they agreed, as they rarely did, on an interpretation. They failed to distinguish between "God" used absolutely, and "god" with a distinct and restricted qualification. And as the Lord, in view of His own rejection unto death, spoke of the devil as the prince of this world (John 12; 14), so the apostle here designates him, with striking propriety, as "god of this age." During the new age, when the Lord takes the sovereignty of the world (Rev. 11), it will not be so; he will be bound, and thereby kept from his old deceits. Now he takes advantage of all truth to dishonour God and destroy men, his wretched slaves, who, in doing their own will, serve him effectually. Thus are they blinded, that the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine forth.*
* αὐτοῖς. "unto them," is not an omission as Dr. Bloomfield says, but rather an addition of the more recent copies followed by the Text. Rec., against the oldest MSS, and versions and fathers.
Here also it is well to notice that "the glorious gospel," as in the Authorised Version, is not only inadequate, but incorrect. For "the glory" is definitely of Christ exalted to God's right hand, in virtue of not His person only but redemption, that we who now believe might see Him, and have our place in Him, there. What enlightenment can compare with this? It is part of what the apostle calls "my" and "our gospel." Christ was, and is, God's image, alone fully representing Him; but the gospel, as Paul preached it, was not of His descent and life here only, nor of His death and resurrection, but of His glory in heaven also. Hence the appropriateness of the language, with which the reader may contrast the vague platitudes of the Cat. Patr. v. 374, 375.
There is no defect, then, in "our gospel." There is not only the firmest foundation of righteousness, but the brightest heavenly glory in the display of that righteousness. In Christ exalted is love with us made perfect. How could it, indeed, go farther? because as He is, so are we in this world. It is the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is God's image. We are not yet ourselves in possession of the glory as an actual fact, but we have it in Him in whom it shines most fully, and through whom it shines into our hearts. No greater proof, then, of the blinding power of Satan, than that men should be insensible to such glory. But an evil conscience cannot endure the light of God, whatever the love from which the light of that glory springs. For they cannot endure the discovery and judgment of their sins, even though the rejection of His testimony exposes them to everlasting ruin. They believe themselves, or really Satan, the god of this age, rather than the only true God; they are lost. This is what the gospel supposes, though it fully provides for it. But the blessing is inseparable from faith; for God is not saying only, but making the saved vessels on earth to reflect the glory of Christ in heaven.
Such pre-eminently was the apostle. He himself, the stoutest of combatants against the name of Jesus, was struck down in mid-career by the glory of Jesus shining from heaven. He therefore knew, if any soul over did, the gospel of the glory of Christ. Lost, spite of all that law could give or boast of; saved by sovereign grace, spite of all that the strongest enmity could breathe against the Lord and His own, he became the suited witness of a Saviour and Lord on high. Where was self now in his eyes? and what the worth of religious authority in Israel, any more than of that philosophy which leaves men groping in the dark, whatever the vauntings of its several schools? The worthlessness of all here below he had proved; for him henceforward Christ was all, as indeed He is all, and in all.
"For not ourselves do we preach, but Christ Jesus as Lord,* and ourselves your bondmen, for Jesus'† sake, because [it is] the‡ God that bid light shine"" out of darkness, who shone into our hearts for the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God § in the face of Jesus Christ." (Vers. 5, 6.) Others might preach themselves; the apostle, Christ Jesus as Lord. He was content to be servant of Christ, and, for that very reason, of the saints, for the Sake of Jesus. This alone is true service; anything else a snare, both to him who serves, and to those who are served, who, in such circumstances, alike serve themselves to His dishonour.
* The MSS. fluctuate between Χ. Ἰ. K., supported by the Vatican, some few uncials, and most cursives, versions, etc.; Ἰ. Χ. K. as the Sinaitic, Alex., Rescript of Paris, and some other good authorities; K. Ἰ. Χ. with some few witnesses; and finally Ἰ. Χ. or Χ. Ἰ. omitting K.
† The weight of authority is in favour of διὰ Ἰησοῦν, but the Sinaitic and Paris Rescript, etc., read διὰ Ἰησοῦ, as some others have Χριστόν or Χριστοῦ.
‡ The Vatican, etc., omit ὁ before θ.
"" For λάμφαι, as in Text. Rec. following most, the oldest read λάμψει (= God that said, Out of darkness light shall shine).
§ Some MSS. (D F G, etc.) omit ὅς, as others beside (C D, etc.) for τοῦ θ. have αὐτοῦ. Most give Ἰ. Χ., others Χ. Ἰ., A B, etc.. simply Χ.
But as Christ Jesus is Lord, and the believer owns and proclaims it according to his measure, so is He the one true and safe motive for the ready service of His saints. Personal interest, or honour, vanishes before His name. And such a servant was the apostle to the Corinthians. What a change, from the prejudiced, law-bound, yet impassioned Jew of Tarsus! How came so complete and sudden a revolution to be brought about in the heart of one naturally most averse to change? It was, it is always, the effect of God's power in grace. The Creator-God is the Saviour-God, through His Son.
It was as truly light spiritual from God, as that which shone at God's bidding where darkness had reigned before the earth was prepared for man. "Because God, that bid light to Shine out of darkness, [is he] who shone in our hearts for [the] illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." Thus, for faith does the first man give instant place to the second; and we, who were once darkness, become light in the Lord. The apostle, no doubt, had vividly before him the never to be forgotten circumstances of his own conversion, suggestive of the light at mid-day, above the brightness of the sun shining from heaven. With this he brings in the allusion to Genesis 1:8, so as the better to contrast the light with the previous darkness, and connect all with the power, as well as the word, of God. But he gives both references the precision requisite to the case in hand.
It was a question here, not of an external miracle, but of God's shining "in our hearts" - a thing, after all, far more blessed than even the light of old which answered the bidding of God to dispel the world's deep gloom. If the enemy blinds the thoughts of the unbelieving, grace shines in the believer's heart for the shining forth of the knowledge of His glory in the face, or person, of Christ. So had God operated in the apostle's heart, not merely for his own enjoyment of that heavenly light (though this primarily), but also that it might shine on others, as a testimony to them and for Christ. Grace thus identifies the two things, as Christ gave Himself up "for us," an offering and sacrifice "to God," for an odour of sweet savour. The energy of the Holy Spirit alone can effect so mighty a work in any heart, as it did most abundantly in him for a pattern of those about to believe on Him to life everlasting. So, when taken out from among the people and the Gentiles, he could say that the Lord sent him to the last, with a view to open their eyes, that they might turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.
There is, therefore, in the gospel, as it reached the apostle, a wondrous double action: not only an inshining of God in his own heart; but this also with a view to giving forth the light of the knowledge of God's glory in Christ's face. If the law was addressed to a people already formed, and in a definite relationship with God, the gospel, especially as Paul knew and preached it, went out to any, to all, to the lost. It was not requirement of man's duty, it was the communication of the knowledge of God's glory, a glory which shone in Christ's face, consequent on the infinite work of redemption, whereby God could justify man in free grace, instead of judging him for his iniquities. If men are inexcusable who reject the gospel, no wonder that the apostle should say, We preach such a Saviour, blending as he does the glory of God with the salvation of sinners. But that glory of God which is thus bound up with salvation is seen not in the heavens, whatever they may declare, but in the face of Jesus Christ. The expanse shows His handy work; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared God Himself, the God whom no one has seen at any time; and so blessedly does He reveal the Father, that, as He said Himself, he that had seen Him had seen the Father.
Such then is the ministration of the Spirit and of righteousness in Christ, the revelation of God's glory in His face. This is the treasure which grace gives.
"But we have this treasure in earthenware vessels, that the surpassingness of the power maybe God's, and not of us; in everything being afflicted, yet not straitened, sorely yet not utterly perplexed, persecuted yet not forsaken, cast down yet not destroyed, always bearing about in the† body the dying [or, putting to death] of Jesus.* that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body.‡ For we that live are ever being delivered up unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus"" may be manifested in our mortal flesh." (Vers. 7-11)
* Some three uncials, etc. add χριστοῦ "Christ' as Text. Rec. with two uncials and most cursives prefix κυρίου "the Lord," but the best support the text followed here.
† Many authorities give "our."
‡ etc., read σώμασιν "bodies."
"" gives χριστοῦ "Christ" instead of "Jesus;" others give both.
Thus does the apostle meet the natural thought of men which the carnal mind among the Corinthians had taken up against himself, to their loss and his grief. In an apostle they had looked for a grand style of speech, for lofty speculation and subtle argument, as well as a dignified and attractive presence, backed up by such a display of power as would overawe all the world. They could not understand therefore that one who was not a whit behind the chiefest apostles should be with them in weakness and fear and much trembling; and that on principle he should forego every advantage of intellectual ability and acquired learning, of all that which is a matter of boast to the flesh; nay more, that he should glory in infirmities, and treat as his foolishness all reference to his devoted service and mighty deeds, signs and wonders, with the vast and deep effects of his preaching. He was indeed the most remarkable of sufferers no less than of labourers; but he insists that, when he was weak, then was he strong. What he gloried in was the Lord, and His strength made perfect in weakness. Doubtless, as the apostle surpassed all others in depth of heart and all - endurance for Christ and the church and the gospel, so in this also, the most abiding consciousness of weakness and insufficiency keeping him in dependence on the Lord.
Here he lays down the general principle. "We have this treasure in earthenware vessels," and this "that the surpassingness of the power may be God's, and not of us." The deposit was none the less precious because laid up in the coarsest ware. The very object is to make evident, by the contrast of man, weak and fragile and suffering, that the power is God's. On the one hand a revelation of grace and truth which goes down into all depths of evil, and extricates so completely as to put those who were once slaves of Satan into the closest living association by the Spirit with the Christ glorified in heaven; on the other, the vessels of this delivering power exposed not to an occasional assault of the enemy, but kept up by God in the face of constant pressure and excessive trial and extreme weakness, yet with blessing flowing out on every side: hard pressed, but not straitened; at a loss, but not absolutely so; pursued but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
What was it then that the Spirit set before those who thus hold on their way? What gave patience in a path so strange to flesh and blood? "Always bearing about in the body the putting to death of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body." Such was the habitual course of the apostle himself. He went about everywhere as one that realised Christ's portion in the world, at all times applying death to the body, keeping it down as dead. It is the power of the cross applied to that which otherwise craves present case and enjoyment, in order that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body." For the believer lives of the very same life as the Saviour, in contrast with his old Adam life shared by all the race; and it is the activity of the natural life which hinders the working and manifestation of the life of Jesus. Hence the importance of ever applying by faith the putting to death (νέκρωσιν) of Jesus, in its moral power, to the body, disallowing its energy by holding it for dead, that the life of Jesus also may be shown out.
And as this is the constant bent of those who are true to the cross practically, so God helps such souls in fact by continuous exposure to sorrow and suffering, difficulty, to danger, and death itself for Jesus' sake, in order that the blessed end of manifesting the life of Jesus may be the more effectuated. "For we that live are ever being delivered up unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh." A far weightier testimony, in such unwearied and unceasing trial, to God's power with His servant, than enduring a martyr's death through some sudden outburst of the world's hatred, however blessed and honourable such a death undoubtedly is.
Verse 12 is the conclusion of this part of the subject, the service of Christ in divine love and self-abnegation which works death to the servant as surely as life to the saints he serves. This was true of the Master in the fullest way; it is verified in those who follow Him in the labour of love, just so far as they are true to Him.
"So that* death worketh in us, but life in you. But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, I believed, wherefore [also]† I spoke: we also believe, wherefore also we speak; knowing that he that raised up the Lord‡ Jesus shall raise up us also with"" Jesus, and shall present [us] with you. For all things [are] for your sakes, that the grace having multiplied through the greater number might make the thanksgiving abound unto the glory of God." (Vers. 12-15.)
* μέν is not read by the best authorities.
† καί "also" F G, etc.
‡ B, etc. omit κύριον.
"" σὺν Ἰ. p.m. B C D E F G P, a few uncials with most cursives, etc.
It is a total misapprehension of the opening words to suppose that the least approach to a withering rebuke lies hid here, as in 1 Corinthians 4:8-14. Calvin and others have thought so, but there is no real ground to doubt that the apostle very simply states the present effect of serving Christ when His mind and grace govern in such a world and state as this. It is death to kiln who in the work shares the affections and thoughts of Christ. Continual exposure to trial, habitual experience of grief, ridicule, detraction, opposition, enmity on the one hand; on the other, hopes, fears and disappointments; a never ceasing succession of all that can draw out, and withal distress, the spirit cannot fail to do their work in him who thus serves Christ and the saints for His sake. But in the face of all, in spite of evil, and in virtue of grace, the saints are helped, strengthened, cleared, comforted, and blessed. "Death worketh in us, and life in you." The apostle habitually toiling and suffering was thoroughly content, and rejoiced in the gain of others: if he was wearing away bodily, those ministered to were being led on in what is imperishable. The service of Christ truly carried out costs all here below, but the blessing is commensurate even now; and what will be the result in glory? Not only was life in Christ given to those that believed, but it was fed, exercised, and developed by ministrations of truth, of which grace was the spring and character and power, in presence of the deepest shame and pain and all calculated to dishearten, yet ever rising above the obstacles and persevering, no matter what the weakness, not only in view of death, but death working already.
But in Christ is the power of resurrection, now to faith, by-and-by in fact, even as the Spirit of Christ gave the Psalmist of old to sing in days of sorrow, "But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, I believed, wherefore I spoke; we also believe, wherefore also we speak." No trial or suffering, not death itself in view, can stop the believer's mouth: he confides in God, and can speak out and well of Him.
New Testament accomplishment also exceeds Old Testament promise, for we can read all in the light of Christ dead and risen. Such is our conscious knowledge, before we too are raised and glorified. And thus we are to be on a common principle with Jesus, in contrast with the wicked who refuse to believe on Him, and are only raised by divine power for judgment. It is not so with the righteous or saints, who live of His life, and have the Spirit of God dwelling in them since redemption. They look to be changed at His coming, to enjoy His glory and love in perfection of their state, as now they do in His person. The resurrection of those who fall asleep meanwhile is from among the dead as His was. His resurrection declares that there is no judgment for the believer, as surely as it proclaims its certainty for the world, as the apostle teaches in Romans 4:25, and Acts 17:31. But it is a mistake to use Ephesians 2:6, or Colossians 2, 3: 1, to illustrate the critical reading σύν "with" against the more common διά "by" or "through." For these epistles, pre-eminently treating of our association with Christ, insist that we are already dead and risen with Christ, whilst our text speaks solely of the future. Perhaps the nearest to it is 1 Thessalonians 5:10, where it is taught that our Lord Jesus Christ died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Mm. It is in the one living the life of glory, as in the other raising us in order to it.
And it is added that He "will present us with you." All efforts of Meyer and others now, as of some in former times, to lower the meaning to extrication from dangers or difficulties, are vain. Here it is the presentation of all together in glory, whether the servants or those served in grace, all being raised on a common principle with their Master who is their life after dying for them. What are present trials in comparison of such a prospect! How blessed that as nothing shall be able to separate the saints from the love of God which is in Christ, so God will have together in glory those who on earth were exposed to all kinds of divisive and destructive influence!
"For all things [are] for your sakes, that the grace having multiplied through the greater number might make the thanksgiving abound unto the glory of God." (Ver. 15.) What an answer in the apostle to the affections of Christ! And certainly it was not in word or feeling only, but in deeds and sufferings which proved its reality and depth. It was endurance with joyfulness in a love like its source for the saints of God. And he looked for fruit accordingly, that if it fell to such as himself to suffer in the service of the many, the grace which so wrought might be the more diffused and cause thanksgiving to go up from all that reaped the blessing to the glory of God.
There are thus, along with the consciousness of utter weakness and exposure, spiritual forces of the most powerful kind, which sustain in the face of all trial and suffering the faith of what God has already wrought in Christ risen; the hope of what He will do for us who believe on Him; and the love which bears all for the blessing of those so precious to both the Father and the Son.
"Wherefore we fail not; but even if our outer man is consuming, yet the inner is being renewed day by day. For the momentary lightness of our affliction worketh out for us in surpassing measure an eternal weight of glory: while we have the eye not on the things that are seen, but on those not seen, for the things seen [are] temporary, but those not seen, eternal." (Vers. 16-18.)
On such divine ground the apostle repudiates all thoughts of succumbing, and declares for moving on undauntedly. Enjoyment, ease, honour, are out of the question as a present thing; nay, pain, tribulation, detraction, contempt, opposition, all that can wear away the outer man are sure as the path of Christ is trodden. But in all these things is the life of the Spirit. Grace turns to our account by Christ, and this, even now, the things which seem most contrary to man's life in this world. Be it that it perishes, yet the inner man is renewed day by day. (Ver. 16.) It is not that the saint becomes more meet for partaking of the inheritance of the saints in light, for this rests on Christ and His redemption; but there is growth spiritually, a new nature and sure judgment of things around us, there is less value for what once attracted, and a more undivided deepening joy in the Lord and His objects here as well as in heavenly things. The babe becomes not a young man only, but a father. (1 John 2) Christ is more unwaveringly the attraction and the standard of thought, feeling, conduct, everything; while flesh and world not only sink, but are judged unsparingly, as one passes through all that would otherwise disappoint and torture, now regarded with calm and even thanksgiving.
This is so true that the apostle does not hesitate to designate so withering and pitiless a storm of trial, ever repeating itself in fresh blows and continual grief, as "the momentary lightness of our affliction." Yet who ever beheld, yea conceived, such suffering, save in the One with whom none can compare? And His grace it is that so works, and strengthens thus to reckon. Lightness of affliction! in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in death often. But why recite what no reader of feeling can have forgotten? Momentary! in him who scarce knew cessation of unexampled perils, inflictions, and labours. Yet was he full of good cheer. "For the momentary lightness of our affliction worketh out for us in surpassing measure an eternal weight of glory." (Ver. 17.) To this he looked onward, reaping withal no small return of blessing even now, and thus binding together what was spiritual along the way with the end in the presence of the Lord by-and-by, in words which labour for adequate expression of the truth.
We must not lay unfounded stress on the "while" which introduces the last verse in our tongue. It is not here the expression of time emphatically, as if the blessing were only going on during the soul's regard of the things set before our faith, however important it may be that our regard should go on unbrokenly. The apostle says no more than that such is the due object for our contemplation, our heed paid not to the things that are seen, but to those that are not seen; with the explanation or reason assigned, "for the things that are seen [are] temporary, but those that are not seen [are] eternal." (Ver. 18.) Who does not own, save the basest of sceptics, that deliverance from the present and fleeting is true power? Who feels as he ought the simplicity with which Christ, as now revealed to us, and revealing the unseen and eternal things, makes good this mighty work in those who believe? How ought not the Christian to appreciate the gospel of His glory?
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 if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
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.
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
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.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
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.
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.
So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
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;
Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
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.