HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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Theme: God's comfort in the ministry of suffering for Christ
Here we have another feature of God's comfort. We have seen God's comfort for life's plans in chapter 1. Then in chapter 2, it was God's comfort in restoring sinning saints. Chapter 3 showed God's comfort in the glorious ministry of Christ. So far, wonderful? In this chapter, we do not come down from the mountain, we are going to stay way up there, as we see God's comfort in the ministry of suffering for Christ. Maybe Paul will take us yet higher still!
This chapter is closely connected with chapter 3; and is really just a statement of the results of the doctrine advanced there. In chapter 3, Paul had stated the clearness and plainness of the Gospel (2 Cor.3:12), as contrasted with the institutions of Moses, and particularly that the Christian ministry was a ministration much more glorious than that of Moses. It was clear that it was a ministration of justification (2 Cor.3:9) and of the Spirit (2 Cor.3:8) and was a ministration where they were permitted to look upon the unveiled and unclouded glories of God (2 Cor.3:18). In this chapter Paul states some of the results of their being called to this ministry: and the plan is, to magnify the office of the ministry; to show the sustaining power of the Truths which they preached.
Paul Refuses to Acknowledge Deceit in His Preaching (2 Cor.4:18)
2 Cor.4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; (KJV)
Therefore seeing we have this ministry . . . the Gospel ministry, is so much more glorious than that of Moses (2 Cor.3:6), for it is the ministry by which the Holy Spirit acts on the hearts of men (2 Cor.3:8), which is the ministry by which men are justified (2 Cor.3:9), and which is the ministry that is pure and unclouded (2 Cor.3:9-11,18). The ministry of the Gospel is so clear; because it reveals glorious Truths, with all obscurity taken away, and we are permitted to behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord (2 Cor.3:18), and since the glories of the Gospel dispensation are so great, and its effects on the heart are so transforming and purifying, the purpose is to show the effect of being entrusted with such a ministry on the character of Paul’s preaching.
As we have received mercy . . . the mercy and favor of God that Paul had been entrusted with, was this ministry; and Paul’s purpose is no doubt to prevent any appearance of arrogance and self-confidence, by stating that it was all to be traced totally to God, that Paul was put into the ministry. Paul no doubt has in mind the fact that he had been a persecutor and blasphemer (Acts 8:3; 9:1), and that it was by the mere grace of God that he had been converted and entrusted with the ministry (1 Tim.1:13). Nothing will more effective to humble a pastor, and prevent his assuming any arrogance and self-confidence, than to look over his past life . . . especially if his life was one of blasphemy, vice, infidelity or immorality; and to remember that it is just by the mere mercy of God that he is entrusted with the high office of being an ambassador of Jesus Christ. Paul never forgot to trace his hope, his appointment to the pastoral office, and his success, to the amazing grace of God (Rom.1:5; 1 Pet.1:2).
We faint not . . . this is one of the effects of being entrusted with such a ministry. We faint not means not to turn out to be a coward; not to lose one's courage; not to be faint-hearted, not to be without hope. Here it means, that by the mercy of God, Paul was not discouraged by the difficulties which he met day after day. His faith and passion stayed strong and he was enabled to be faithful, and keep on working, and his boldness and courage always stayed high. His mind was filled with cheerfulness (2 Cor.2:14). Paul was never deterred by difficulties; embarrassed by opposition; driven from his work by no persecution; and his strength did not fail. His being aware of being entrusted with such a ministry energized him; and the mercy and grace of God sustained him.
There are some cults that say you must have faith . . . but . . . by faith, they do not mean a trust in Jesus Christ, but instead they mean to acknowledge as historical fact that Jesus lived and that He died over nineteen hundred years ago. My friend, THAT kind of faith will NOT save your soul! Just to believe that Jesus died, will NOT save you! You must understand WHY Jesus died! Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again, according to the Scriptures. That is the important difference. Only faith in His finished work on the cross will save you. The Law CANNOT save you! History CANNOT save you! Your pedigree CANNOT save you! ONLY trusting and believing in Jesus’ once for all Sacrifice for us (Heb.10:5,10,12,14), only His work on the cross can save you! Jesus died ONCE! ONLY ONCE! It is utter blasphemy to put Him on that cross again! The Catholic mass is WRONG!
We need mercy. God is merciful! God loved us and sent His only begotten Son to die in our place on that horrific cross! God in His mercy provided a Saviour for us . . . IF we are wise enough to believe God (1 Jn.5:10), and accept His only begotten Son as our Saviour and Lord (Jn.3:15-18,36), He saves us by His grace (Eph.2:8-9). How awesome God is! The Truth About Salvation: http://www.hisservants.org/truth_about_salvation_h_s.htm
2 Cor.4:2 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. (KJV)
But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty . . . to renounce means to disown, to spurn, to scorn with hatred. Renounce occurs nowhere else in the New Testament; and the sense here is, that Paul had such an opinion of the Truth of the Gospel, and the glory of Christ, as to discard everything that was clever and crafty; everything like deceit and fraud. The religions of the heathens were made up mainly of trickery, and was supported by deception practiced on the ignorant and unaware. Paul says, that he and his fellow-workers held only opinions of truth, glory and holiness of the Gospel that would lead them to avoid and hate all dishonest tricks and procedures. Truth never needs crafty arts; and no cause will last long by mere tricks and cunning arts. The hidden things of dishonesty . . . means shame, or disgrace. The hidden things of shame mean disgraceful conduct; secret arts which are shameful and disgraceful. They mean all underhanded dealings; all dishonest plans, such as were common among the heathens, probably as the false teachers adopted in the spread of their opinions at Corinth. This does not mean that Paul ever had anything to do with such arts; but that he solemnly avoided and hated them. The Gospel is open, plain and straightforward. It has NO union with cunning trickery. It should be defended openly; stated clearly; and urged with steady argument. The Gospel is a work of LIGHT, not of darkness.
Not walking in craftiness . . . not behaving in a crafty manner. Craftiness means shrewdness, cunning and craft, and was commonly practiced by the false teachers in Corinth. Paul says he had nothing to do with this! He did not adopt a course of carnal wisdom and policy (2 Co.1:12), he did not try to impose this upon the Corinthians, or to deceive them. The Truth of the Gospel can never be advanced by tricks and craftiness.
Nor handling the word of God deceitfully. . . not falsifying, not deceitfully corrupting or disguising the Truth of God. The phrase seems to be similar to that used in (2 Cor.2:17), and rendered to corrupt the word of God. It means to falsify, adulterate, corrupt, by Jewish traditions, or it may mean to handle in any deceitful manner.
But by manifestation of the truth . . . by making the Truth manifest; by stating it just as it is, in an undisguised and open manner. Not by contaminating or polluting it in any way (Mat.15:9).
Commending ourselves to every man's conscience . . . so speaking the Truth that every man's conscience shall approve it as true; every man shall see it to be true, and to be in accordance with what he knows to be right. Conscience is the ability of the mind which distinguishes between right and wrong, and which prompts us to choose right and avoid wrong.
We are saved by the grace of God through faith in Christ Jesus. BUT . . . after we have been saved, that Gospel must live in us. Coming to Christ and trusting Him is more than an intellectual agreement to the fact that Christ died on the Cross. It is placing our trust in Him and experiencing the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. When Christ saves us, we should in reality, be an example of the Gospel.
2 Cor.4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (KJV)
But if our gospel be hid . . . Paul calls it his Gospel (Rom.2:16; 16:25; 2 Tim.2:8), because it was what he preached. Paul’s Gospel was NOT another gospel (2 Cor.11:4; Gal.1:6-7), which false teachers change, distort, pervert, twist or add man’s commandments (Mat.15:9) as the Catholics do. http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_catholic_anathemas.1.htm
Neither is it a false gospel preaching another Jesus (2 Cor.11:4). BEWARE!!!
Paul taught the TRUTH in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the ONLY Gospel that can save your soul, because ONLY the TRUE Jesus can save you (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12). Open the Bible and READ! The Truth that Paul taught is in there! Believe it!
It is hid to them that are lost . . . lost (2 Cor.2:15), there it is rendered perish. The Gospel is hidden to them, who are about to perish . . . the lost are those who deserve to perish because they reject God and the Gospel. The Gospel is concealed only to that class who may be perishing, the lost ones. WHY??? This verse teaches: #1. There are millions to whom the Gospel is preached who see NO beauty, NO usefulness in it, and who regard it as utter foolishness (1 Cor.1:18-25). #2. There is a class of men who can be called the lost. These foolish ones exist today, just as they did in Paul’s time. #3. The lost (2 Thes.2:10) is made up of all the disobedient, profane, polluted and vile. The main characteristic feature is that they simply do NOT believe God (1 Jn.5:10), and they want NO part of Jesus. This is NOT the fault of the Gospel, just as it is NOT the fault of the sun when men shut their eyes and will not see it. It is also NOT the fault of a fresh stream of water if men refuse to drink of it, but would instead choose to die of thirst. The Gospel does NOT obscure and conceal its glory any more than the sun does. There is NO vail over the Gospel, like that vail that was over Moses’ face (Ex.34:35). The Gospel is a clear and full revelation of God and His grace; and that glory of God is well able to shed light upon the willing minds of men.
2 Cor.4:4 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. (KJV)
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not . . . I think the plan of this verse is to explain the fact of WHY the glory of the Gospel was not seen by the lost, and it can be traced totally to the work of Satan, the god of this world (2 Cor.4:4). Jesus calls him the prince of this world (Jn.12:31; 14:30; 16:11). There can be absolutely NO doubt that Satan is here meant by this title. In John 12:31, Jesus calls him the prince of this world, and in Eph.2:2, he is called the prince of the power of the air. And in Eph.6:12, the same bad impact is referred to under the names of principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places. The name god is here given to Satan, NOT because he has any divine attributes, but because he has the honor and reverence of the men of this world, as their god, as who is really worshipped, over and above the TRUE God of the Universe. The devil has the love and affections of worldly men’s hearts in the same way as it is given to idols, the gods of the heathens! Satan has dominion (power) over the world . . . they obey his will; they carry out his plans; they further his purposes, and they are his obedient subjects. Satan is the master of the lost ones, the ones whose minds are blinded to the Gospel! He has gathered much of the world to himself, and is really idolized in the place of the TRUE God (1 Cor.10:20-21). My friend, people sacrifice to the devil, NOT to God . . . and just WHAT is it that they sacrifice? They sacrifice their SOULS! IF you are walking the devil’s broad road (Mat.7:13), you do NOT need to stay there! His road leads only to eternal destruction in Hell! Wise up my friend, get OFF Satan’s dark road to Hell and get on Jesus’ bright road that leads to eternal life in Heaven (Mat.7:14). Worldliness: (Mat.6:19-21; Gal.5:19-23; Tit.3:3; 2 Pet.2:12-22; 1 Jn.2:15-17; Jude 1:18-19).
Lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them . . . this states WHY Satan blinds the minds of men . . . Satan hates God and hates the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and will do everything he can to prevent its influence and spread in the world. Satan has always hated and opposed it, and all his crafty deceptions have been used to stop its dispersal on Earth. The word light here means excellence, beauty, or splendor. Light is the symbol of knowledge, purity or innocence; and is here and elsewhere applied to the Gospel, because it can remove the errors, sins and misery of men just as the light of the sun scatters the darkness of night. Satan’s preventing the light of the Gospel from shining on men, means that he will try to hinder the Gospel by all the means in his power, which is abundant. More people, by far, have Satan as their master, than the few who choose the Lord Jesus as Master (Mat.7:13-14), thus Satan’s power is great! But do not be deceived! Satan’s power is NOT greater that God’s power! Satan’s power shall absolutely come to an end one day (Rev.20:1-3,7-10). The power Satan now possesses is allowed by the One and Only TRUE God and Creator of the Universe! After the Tribulation, Satan’s power shall end permanently! See Tribulation:
See end of this chapter fo: Who is the “god of this world”?
2 Cor.4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. (KJV)
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord . . . Paul had said that his speaking had been open, pure and plain (2 Cor.3:12), and free from all dishonesty and tricks, and that he had not corrupted the Word of God, or resorted to any tricks to accomplish his plans (2 Cor.2:17; 4:1-2). The reason of this he says is, that he did not seek to advance his own interest, but saw himself as sent to make known the Saviour. Paul considered himself as bound to promote Christ Jesus, and to imitate Him. False teachers, and the cunning priests of the heathen religions seek to advance their own interest, and to continue a system of delusion that would be profitable to themselves; and they therefore resorted to all arts, schemes and cunning devices, to preserve their authority and extend their influence. But the fact that Paul and his helpers went forth ONLY to make known the Lord Jesus, was the reason why they avoided ALL such dishonest crafts and pretenses. Paul was simply the ambassador of Jesus, as should we!
And ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake . . . Paul says the only mention of themselves, was to declare that they are your servants, and that we are bound to promote your welfare in the cause and for the sake of the Redeemer. Paul said that they were their servants in all things in which they could advance the interests of the Redeemer's Kingdom among them. Paul did not preach to seek their own interest, or to build up their own reputation; but ONLY to seek the welfare of the church, and promote its interests, as a servant does that of his master. They did not claim supreme and independent authority, for they were NOT masters, but servants. The church was the master, and they were its servants.
We ALL should preach Christ Jesus the Lord, and to do our best to save the lost. There is a great enemy opposing us, and he blinds the minds of people. Let us pray that blind minds may see, and stopped up ears hear!
2 Cor.4:6 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. (KJV)
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness . . . (Gen.1:3; Jn.1:4-5). This verse seems to give the reason why Paul and his fellow workers did not preach themselves, but Jesus Christ the Lord . . . that being, that their minds had been so illuminated by the God who had commanded the light to shine out of darkness, that they had recognized the glory of God’s perfections shining in and through the Redeemer, and they therefore gave themselves to the work of making Him known among men. The doctrines which they preached, had not come from men in any form (Mat.15:9). They had not given details by human reasoning or science, nor had their doctrine been imparted by tradition. It had been communicated directly by the Source of all light . . . the One and Only TRUE God . . . who had shined into the hearts that were once plagued by sin (Eph.2:1-5). Because they had been enlightened, they felt bound to go and make known to others the Truths which God had imparted to them and had set them free (Jn.8:36).
To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God . . . this shows the effect of enlightening the mind, that being, so Christians may behold the glory of God. The sense is, that the purpose of His shining into their hearts was to give light, and the purpose of that light was to acquaint them with the knowledge of the God’s glory.
In the face of Jesus Christ . . . that they might obtain the knowledge of God’s glory as it shines in the Face of Jesus Christ, or as it is reflected on the Face or the Person of the Redeemer. There is no doubt reference here to what is said of Moses (2 Cor.3:13), when God’s glory was reflected on his face, and produced such a brilliance and splendor that the children of Israel could not constantly look upon it. The logic here is, that in the Face or the Person of Jesus Christ the glory of God shone clearly, and His Holiness appeared without a vail. God’s awesome perfections illuminated Jesus, just as the face of Moses was illuminated. The Gospel illuminates our mind and heart to SEE Jesus! The lost ones cannot see Jesus, because Satan blinds their minds (verse 4). What a terrible shame! If you have as your master the devil, please change from Satan to Jesus! You will not regret it on Judgment Day (Rev.20:15).
http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_judgment_seat_of_christ.htm . . . will you be here?
http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_judgment_great_white_throne.htm . . . or here?
2 Cor.4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (KJV)
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels . . . the treasure here is the Gospel (Mat.6:19-21). It is the rich and priceless Truths which Paul was called to preach to others. Paul in the previous verses had spoken of the Gospel, the knowledge of Jesus Christ, as full of glory, and infinitely precious. This rich blessing had been committed to Paul and his fellow-workers, to give out to others, and to scatter it abroad. His purpose in this and the following verses is to show that it had been so entrusted with the Gospel as to reveal all the glory of God, and to spread it abroad, and also to show its unspeakable value (2 Cor.9:15; 12:4; 1 Pet.1:8). Unspeakable = means it is so marvelous that it cannot be put in words! Paul not only affirms that it is a treasure, but says that it had been so entrusted to them as to show the power of God in its being spread; that it had showed its value in sustaining them in their many trials; and they had showed their sense of its worth by being willing to endure all kinds of trial in order to make it known everywhere (verses 8-11). The treasure here is similar to that which the Lord Jesus uses when He calls the Gospel the pearl of great price (Mat.13:46). In earthen vessels . . . this refers to the apostles and ministers of religion as weak and feeble, having bodies decaying and dying; as fragile and as being totally unworthy to hold a treasure so priceless. Paul uses a symbol similar to this in (2 Tim.2:20).
That the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us . . . this means the exceptionally great power of God. The great power referred to here was that which was shown in connection with the work of the apostles . . . the power of healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out devils; the power and stamina of bearing persecution and trial; and the power of carrying the Gospel over land and sea, in the midst of danger and in spite of any opposition which men could make, and most important of all, the power of converting the hearts of sinners, of humbling the proud, and leading the guilty to the knowledge of God and the hope of Heaven (Tit.1:2). The idea is, that ALL this was clearly far beyond human strength; and that God’s plan was to use foolish, weak and feeble instruments (1 Cor.1:25-29; 3:19).
The apostle Paul was a man who absolutely knew what it was to suffer for Jesus' sake (2 Cor.11:23-31). A big trouble today is that people are not willing to suffer. Consider that when someone is born, someone has to suffer. Maybe a reason that more people are not being born again (Jn.3:3-8), is that people are not willing to suffer.
2 Cor.4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; (KJV)
We are troubled on every side . . . we here, is Paul and his co-workers, and refers to some of the trials to which he and his fellow-workers were subjected to, in making known the Gospel. On every side . . . in every respect, in every way. They were subjected to all kinds of trials and afflictions.
Yet not distressed . . . distressed = anxious, distraught, fearful, fretful, upset or worried . . . even though they were pressed on every side by trials and troubles, they did not give up because they knew God would give them comfort.
We are perplexed, but not in despair . . . perplexed = baffled, bewildered, chaotic, confused, puzzled . . . we are perplexed, but not driven to despair. They were often brought into situations of humiliation, where they hardly knew what to do, or what path to take. They were surrounded by enemies; they were in conditions which they had not expected, and which greatly puzzled them. Not in despair . . . not hopeless!
2 Cor.4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; (KJV)
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed . . . Paul was persecuted (mistreated) by enemies, pursued by enemies, but he was not forsaken (abandoned) by God! He was not overtaken by his enemies. When he was in prison, he could write to the Philippians:
Phil.1:12-13 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; (KJV) . . . Even when he was in prison he could always say that the Lord stood by him. Cast down, but not destroyed . . . even when the enemy got him down, the enemy did not destroy or kill him. Even at the end of his life Paul could say: 2 Tim.4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (KJV) . . . How many of us will be able to say this? Paul seems to be fighting a losing battle. We can almost sense how weak Paul is; yet, even in his weakest moment, he is strong in the Lord and in his faith! If we could have seen this weak, sick Jew up against the mighty power of Rome, we would have thought that he was nothing. But . . . the fact is, he brought a message that weakened the Roman Empire. Even Gibbon, the historian said that the Roman Empire could not stand up against the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. My friend, the Gospel still is capable of toppling powers. Paul seemed to be weak, yet God delivered him again and again. He used miraculous means and He also used natural means. Paul said that they had many enemies, but were never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but God gets us up again. They were not destroyed. God will NEVER forsake His servants.
2 Cor.4:10 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. (KJV)
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus . . . (1 Cor.15:31; Rom.8:36). A TRUE Christian bears with him the dying of the Lord Jesus in his mind and soul, while he obtains power from this to make his heart dead to sin (Ro.6:2,11) . . . as being buried with Christ into death, and planted in the likeness of his death; having his old man crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth he may not serve sin (Rom.6:4-6). Paul tells that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in his body . . . Gal. 6:17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. (KJV). . . this is a strong expression, meaning that the severity of the trials to which he was exposed; meaning that his body bore the marks of his being exposed to the same treatment as the Lord Jesus was; and evidence that he was probably yet to die in a similar manner under the hands of persecutors (2 Cor.11:23-25; Col.1:24). The dying of the Lord Jesus . . . the violent death. Paul was always exposed to death, and always suffering, in a manner that was equivalent to dying.
It does NOT mean that Paul actually bore about literally the dying of the Lord Jesus, but that he was exposed to a similar death, and had marks on his person which showed that he was always exposed to the same violence and death as Jesus was. This did not just happen only once, but it happened continually, wherever he was. It was true that he was exposed to violence, and liable to suffer in the same manner that the Lord Jesus did.
That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body . . . this phrase has different interpretations: #1. Such a life as was that of Christ, immortal, blessed, heavenly. #2. That also the life of Jesus, risen from the dead, may be made manifest by the energy that accompanies my preaching in this frail body. #3. Some think that it means, that he might be able in this way to show that Christ was risen from the dead.
Maybe Paul does not refer to any single thing in the life of the Lord Jesus, but means that the same kind of life which characterized the Lord Jesus, might be displayed in him. Oh! That the life of Jesus be displayed in our lives as well.
2 Cor.4:11 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. (KJV)
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 . . . Paul says that we who are yet alive, all through our lives, are always in danger of persecution and death for Jesus' sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal bodies. Our sufferings go along with our preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as His having died for our sins, is risen for our justification, and now is exalted at the right hand of God, from where He dispenses His spiritual influences to the souls of all His people, and to our souls in particular, by which we are enabled, to suffer such things with boldness, courage, and patience. Right Hand of God: (Mk.16:19; Lk.22:69; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Rom.8:34; Col.3:1; Heb.10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet.3:22)
Paul lived in constant danger of death because he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, desiring that the life of Jesus would be seen in their mortal bodies.
2 Cor.4:12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you. (KJV)
So then death worketh in us, but life in you . . . Paul and his co-workers suffered, yet they had wonderful support. Believers may be forsaken by their family and friends, may be oppressed and persecuted by enemies; but God will never leave them nor forsake them (Heb.13:5). There may be fears within, as well as fightings without (2 Cor.7:5); yet we are not destroyed. Paul says that they were ready to die for Christ, so that they would want to live for Him. Paul says that their sufferings were for the Corinthian’s spiritual advantage (2 Cor.13:9).
2 Cor.4:13 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; (KJV)
We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written . . . The same spirit as is found in:
Psalm 116:10 I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted: (KJV) . . . When the psalmist spoke those words, he was greatly afflicted. See verses 3,6-8.. In these circumstances the Psalmist prayed to God, and expressed confidence in Him, and placed all his reliance on Him. In his affliction he spoke to God because he had confidence in Him and relied on Him. He spoke to God in this manner because of his belief and faith, and of his putting confident trust in God. Paul, in quoting this, does not mean that the psalmist had any reference to preaching the Gospel; nor does he mean to say that his circumstances were, in all respects, like those of the psalmist. Paul simply means that he knew how the psalmist felt. Psalm 116:3-5 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. 4 Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. (KJV) . . . Paul said that he had the same faith the psalmist had, and they had the very spirit of faith which is expressed by David.
I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak . . . Paul and his co-workers believed the truths of the Gospel; believed in God, in the Saviour, in the atonement, in the resurrection, in ALL the Truths of the Gospel. The idea here is that they had a firm confidence in all these things, and as the result of that confidence, they boldly delivered their feelings, their thoughts. Jesus said: Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh (Mat.12:34-35). NO one should ever try to preach the Gospel, if they do NOT have a FIRM belief of its Truths. BUT . . . he who does believe its Truths will be prompted by the Holy Spirit to make them known to his fellow-men. And this does not just mean preachers and teachers, but ALL Christians! Go ye therefore (Mat.28:19), Jesus tells us! Yes, I know, Jesus spoke these words to the eleven disciples (Mat.28:16), BUT they are no longer with us, so we as disciples (learners of Christ) must continue in their stead! If you do not Go ye therefore, you shall hear about it one day, and you will not like His tone of voice or the verdict!
2 Cor.4:14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. (KJV)
Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus . . . Paul was fully confident, having complete assurance that Jesus had been resurrected. It was the confident hope of the resurrection which sustained them in all their trials. They had full and firm and fixed belief in the minds that the doctrines which they preached were absolutely true. They knew that they were revealed from heaven, and that all the Promises of God would be fulfilled.
Shall raise up us also by Jesus . . . this means all TRUE Christians. In the hope of the resurrection they were ready to meet any trials they encountered, and even were ready to die. They were persistently determined by their assurance, going forth in the midst of persecutions and opposition, for they knew that one day their sufferings would end, and that they would be raised up, in the day of the resurrection (1 Thes.4:13-18), to a world of eternal glory with the Lord Jesus.
And shall present us with you . . . will present us before the throne of glory with exceeding joy and honor. He will present us to God as those who have been redeemed by His precious Blood (1 Pet.1:18-19). He will present us in the courts of Heaven (Rev.4:10), before the throne of the eternal Father (1 Tim.1:17), as His ransomed people; being recovered from the ruins of the fall. They shall not only be raised up from the dead, but they shall be publicly and solemnly presented to God in white raiment (Rev.3:5,18; 4:4) as His, as privileged to be in His service, and as being an heir of God (Rom.8:14-17; Gal.3:29; 4:6-7; Tit.3:7; Jam.2:5), in the covenant of grace to the blessedness of Heaven (Jn.14:2-3; 1 Pet.1:2-5).
Paul did not consider death to be the end. Neither should we! Paul looked beyond death to a better thing! He looked forward to Jesus’ Promise! John 14:2-3 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (KJV) . . . My friend, death is simply one of the many experiences of life on Earth which he will go through. Paul says that he is joined to a living Christ, so he is dead to the things of the world. Very few think this way.
2 Cor.4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. (KJV)
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God . . . all that Christ had done and suffered, His death, and His resurrection from the dead, and all things that Paul had done or suffered, all are for your sakes; that the benefit that you receive from God, the greater praise, honor, and glory might result in the thanksgiving of many; for God can be no otherwise glorified by us; His mercy and His goodness, and the praising Him for the mercies that we receive from him. The more God does good to, the more honor, praise and glory should result to His Name.
2 Cor.4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. (KJV)
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day . . . Paul says that, because of this double advantage which accrues from our sufferings, the furthering of the good of your souls, and the promoting the glory of God from the thanksgivings of many, although we suffer many harsh and bitter things, we do not faint or fall under the burden of our trials. As to our outward man, we are dying every day as persons, decaying daily as to the strength and vigor, and prosperity of our outward man . . . but, by the strength and comfort of our inner man, our souls and spirits are renewed day by day.
As we grow older, we begin to die as far as the body is concerned, but, we grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ in our inner man.
2 Cor.4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (KJV)
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory . . . the small, temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than any trouble we may experience. Our troubles should NEVER lessen our faith or dishearten us. We must understand that there is a purpose in our suffering. Problems and human limits do have several benefits: #1. They remind that Jesus suffered for us; #2. They keep us away from pride; #3. They cause us to look beyond this brief life to something wonderful; #4. They give us time to prove our faith to others; and #5. They give God the occasion to demonstrate His power.
We should always look at our troubles as opportunities!
2 Cor.4:18 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. (KJV)
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 . . . we should not look at the temporary troubles we can see now, but instead fix our gaze on eternal things that cannot be seen. The things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
Few passages in Paul's writings shows so clearly his inner feelings in the midst of sufferings and when death seems to be near. When he wrote this passage, he was in big trouble. He felt that his life was in constant and imminent danger, and that even if he was delivered from the violence of his enemies, his strength was gradually wearing away under the uninterrupted trials to which he was subjected.
Paul was very susceptible to the conduct and feelings of others towards him. He was well aware of his danger, and yet his confidence in his ultimate triumph was unshaken. He is determined not to yield either to opposition or to suffering, but to persevere in faithfully and energetically doing the duty which had brought all his trials on him . . . the preaching of the Gospel. He was sustained by the assurance that the life of Christ secured his life; that if Jesus rose, he too would rise.
2 Cor.4:4 . . . Who Is "the God of This World"?
It is VERY clear that the Bible (including the parts that Paul wrote) teaches that there is only ONE God (Deut.6:4; Isa.44:6; Jn.17:3; Rom.3:30; 8:4; 10:12; 1 Cor.8:6; Gal.3:20; Eph.4:6; 1 Tim.2:5; Jam.2:19). So then . . . WHO is "the god of this world"? WHY does Paul refer to another god, if he believed that there is only one God?
As a Jew, Paul divided world history into two ages: this age and the age to come (Eph.1:21). This age is a period of time when Satan has a major sway in the world, but in the age to come God's Kingdom will be fully revealed and God shall set right ALL the wrongs from this age. When Paul submitted to Jesus as his Messiah, he gained a new view on this division of time. In Jesus the age to come had already come. TRUE Christians have already entered this age under the control of God and they already experience the Kingdom in the fruit of the Spirit (Rom.14:17) and the Spirit's power (1 Cor.4:20). This does NOT mean that the kingdom is fully present, for the full ability of the Kingdom is in the future, when it will rule the Earth (1 Cor.15:24-25). As a result, Christians experience the Kingdom both now, and are yet to inherit the Kingdom in the future (Col.1:12; Eph.1:11,18; 1 Pet.1:2-5).
BUT . . . everyone is not a TRUE Christian. This evil world is still very much present (Gal.1:4). In this age there is a power of darkness (Col.1:13) in which people are controlled by the prince of the power of the air (Eph.2:2). Paul refers to the human rulers of this age as the princes of this world (1 Cor.2:8), the philosophers of this age as wise (1 Cor.1:20) and the standards of this age (1 Cor.3:18). In this Passage Paul refers to the being that controls this age as the god of this world (or age), rather than using one of his other many titles, such as Satan (2 Cor.11:14). Paul refers to Satan by such a title, NOT because he is a god in the sense of being an ultimate being, but because he is the created being (not a God), who controls the lives of unbelievers, including blinding their minds. Very few unbelievers would admit that Satan is their god! They think that they are serving their own self-interest or some particular deity.
For Paul, there only is one TRUE God. The true God is the ultimate, one and only God, the one ultimate, the first and the last (Rev.1:8,11), because in the end, Christ will put down all other powers and authorities, including, and especially that of Satan, and deliver the kingdom to the Father (1 Cor.15:24). SATAN IS NOT GOD! He is a being who will in the end bow the knee before God (Isa.45:23; Rom.14:11; Phil.2:10). BUT . . . for now, Satan has control over this age everywhere that people have not turned to Christ. Unbelievers have NOT been transferred from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son (Col.1:13). Satan is absolutely NOT the ultimate God! But, for those who have NOT yet turned to Christ, this dark, evil lord is all the god that they know. The terrible reality of this is what Paul recognizes in this verse.
Also consider the following from our commentary on First Corinthians:
1 Cor. 8:5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) (KJV)
For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) . . . the words "are called gods" appear one other place in the New Testament (2 Thes.2:4), where Paul speaks of "the man of lawlessness" who "will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped," prior to the Coming of the Lord. In both cases, Paul knows that the pagan world is involved in the belief in, and worship of gods (idols). Temples to the many Roman and Greek gods in Corinth were sufficient testimony to this fact. In neighboring Athens, (Acts 17), Paul called the Athenians "very religious," for he found there many "objects of worship," including an altar "to an unknown god."
While knowing the certain reality in the pagan world, Paul forcefully stresses that these supposed “gods” are ONLY "called" gods. In other words, whatever degree of reality that is assigned to these "nothing idols," when Christians speak of "God" they speak of the God of Israel and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and THIS cannot be claimed by any of these pagan idols.
1 Cor. 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. (KJV)
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him . . . no matter what the idolatrous heathens think or believe, to us who are Christians, there is but one God, who is truly and essentially God. And even though there is indeed more than one Person in the Triune Deity, the Father, is the Fountain of the Deity, communicating His Divine nature to the other two Persons, Jesus the Son and the Holy Ghost . . . and of whom are all things. This is a term which means that He is the primary Cause and Author of all things. We exist because of Him, according to the apostle Paul (Acts 17:28): In him we live, and move, and have our being. For we are for Him, created for His honor and glory.
And one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things . . . Jesus is the Second Person in the Holy Trinity. Something to consider: That although the Name of God is often given to Christ Jesus, yet in NO place does Paul mention God the Father as Lord. This seems to conclude, that the term of Lord given to Christ, means HE has pre-eminence above all things, (except the Father), according to what the apostle Paul says (1 Cor.15:27). SO . . . it is by Christ Jesus, that are all things: All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made (Jn.1:3).
So, the Passage in verse 6 shows us, the order of working in the Holy Trinity. All things are of the Father by the Son.
And we by him . . . and we, says Paul, are by the Son of God created, redeemed and saved!
Abaddon (Hebrew: Destroyer, Rev 9:11)
The accuser of our brethren (Rev 12:10; Eph 6:10-12; Rev 2:10, 13; 12:10; 13:1-18; 16:13-14, 16; 20:2-3)
The adversary (1Pe 5:8)
Angel of light (2 Cor.11:14)
The angel of the bottomless pit (Rev 9:11)
Apollyon (Greek: Destroyer, Rev 9:11)
Beelzebul (Mat 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15)
Belial (2Co 6:15)
Confirmed sinner (1 John 3:8)
The Devil (Mat 4:1; Luke 4:2,6; Rev 20:2)
Our common enemy (Mat 13:39)
Evil spirit (1 Sam 16:14)
The father of all lies (John 8:44)
Gates of hell (Hades, Mat 16:18)
Great red dragon (Rev 12:3,4,7,13,17)
The liar (John 8:44)
Lying spirit (1 Ki 22:22)
The murderer (John 8:44)
That old serpent (Rev 12:9; Rev 20:2)
The power of darkness (Col 1:13)
The prince of this world (John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11)
The prince of devils (Mat 12:24)
The prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2)
Roaring lion (1 Pet 5:8)
Ruler of the darkness of this world (Eph 6:12)
Satan (1 Chron 21:1; Job 1:6; John 13:27; Acts 5:3; Acts 26:18; Rom 16:20)
The serpent (Gen 3:4,14; 2 Co 11:3)
The schemer (2 Cor 2:11; Eph 6:11
The serpent of old (Rev12:9,14-15; Gen 3:1-5,13-15; 2 Cor11:3)
The spirit that works in all disobedient people (Eph 2:2)
The Tempter (Mat 4:3; 1Th 3:5)
The god of this world (2Co 4:4)
Unclean spirit (Mat 12:43)
The wicked one (Mat 13:19,38)
Kingdom of, to be destroyed (2 Sam 23:6-7)
With the context of (Mat 12:29-30; Luke 11:21-22; 1 Jn 3:8)
The synagogue of Satan (Rev 2:9; Rev 3:9)
Personal pronouns (Job 1:6-12; 2:2-6; Isa14:12-14; Eze 28:12-17; Mat 4:1-11; Luke 22:31-32; Rev12:12-13)
Satan’s creation (Eze 28:12-17)
Satan’s fall (Isa 14:12-14; Eze 28:15-17; 1 Tim 3:6 Luke 10:18)
Evil enemy (Mat 13:25, 28, 39)
Ch.1 . . ch.2 . . ch. 3 . . ch.4 . . ch.5 . . ch.6 . . ch.7 . . ch.8 . . ch. 9 . . ch.10 . . ch.11 . . ch.12 . . ch.13 . . Special Comments