2 Corinthians 3:14-15 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.
Comment: The passage 2 Cor 4:1-7, which we are dealing with below, is in response to 2 Cor 3:14-15 shown above, which shows that the ministry of the new covenant was rejected by the Jews. Paul explains why despite this continuous rejection, He still continues to preach the gospel without loosing heart.
2 Corinthians 4:1-7 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
- We don’t give up Despite the Gospel Rejection
having this ministry
by the mercy of God,
we do not lose heart.
Message: Paul indicates that he has received this ministry of the new covenant, of preaching the gospel, by the mercies of God. He refers to God’s mercy because as you would know, Paul was not always a man of God and was, by his own admission, a chief sinner who persecuted Christians. Therefore it is only by God’s mercy that he now finds himself a Christian and saved from God’s wrath. This is the reason that makes him not to lose heart or give up even though his message is being rejected.
- We don’t even resort to underhanded and disgraceful ways
2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways.
to practice cunning or
to tamper with God’s word,
Message: Paul says that, not only does he not give up to preach the gospel, even though his message is being rejected, he also does not resort to underhanded and/or disgraceful ways to try and get the gospel that he is preaching, accepted.He tells us that he refuses to practice cunning ways, meaning, he refuses to employ any or all means that are deceitful to ensure people accept the gospel. He also refuses to tamper with God’s word. In other words, he will not change the word of God in anyway to make it acceptable to those who currently reject it.
So. Paul says in summary that He will not:
- Resort to underhanded and disgraceful ways to make the gospel accepted
- He refuses to deceive people into accepting the gospel
- He refuses to tamper with the word of God to make it acceptable
These things that Paul refuses to do, are exactly the things that most pastors and preachers do today:
- to be more acceptable to the church members,
- to increase the number of church members
- and to be seen as tolerant to others.
- We stick to the truth
but by the open statement of the truth
we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
Message: Despite all the rejection and in contrary to what he has listed above, Paul sticks to the truth despite rejection, and he preaches the gospel plainly and openly. Paul says the conscience of those that have heard him preach and seen how he does his things, will give clear testimony that he does not resort to underhanded and disgraceful ways, that he refuses to deceive people and to tamper with God’s words to make the gospel acceptable but rather, he sticks to the truth plainly and openly. Paul appeals to people’s consciences because he knows that a person’s conscience does not lie.
- The Rejectors who are perishing, are blinded by the devil
3 And even if our gospel is veiled,
it is veiled to those who are perishing.
4 In their case the god of this world
has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Message: Paul then says, the gospel that he preaches is not acceptable to those that reject it because it is veiled or hidden from them. It is hidden from them because they are on their way to being destroyed in hell. They are perishing. Paul says it is the devil, whom he refers to as the god of this world, Paul says it is the devil that has blinded their minds so that they cannot understand and accept the word of God. The devil has blinded the minds of those that reject the true word of God so that they are unable to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. This is the same thing that is happening to some of us who are also rejecting the true word of God. We reject God’s word because we have allowed the devil to blind our minds.
- We proclaim only Jesus
5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
Message: Paul says, despite all this, they preach nothing else except Jesus Christ as Lord. This means that they preach that Jesus Christ has authority over their lives and they need to obey him. The same thing applies to us, we need to preach only that Jesus has authority over our lives and we must obey at all times. Paul then told them that they who preach Jesus as Lord, are servants for Jesus’s sake. Just like we all should become, servants for Jesus’s sake.
- God provides the knowledge
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
has shone in our hearts
to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Message: Paul then says that all this knowledge that they have, all these knowledge that they are preaching, comes from none other than God Himself. The same God who created the world, it is the same God who put this knowledge in their hearts so that they can preach it.
- God has the surpassing power
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
Message: And Finally, Paul says, although they might not look rich or fancy or educated but, they carry this God given knowledge, which Paul refers to as treasure, and this shows the surpassing power that belongs to God and not them. The fact that God has chosen the humble to preach His word, shows God’s power.
To my fellow pastors and preachers and fellow believers, let us likewise not give up our work of preaching the true word of God, openly and plainly without resorting to underhanded and disgraceful ways. We must refuse to deceive people and to tamper with God’s words to make the gospel acceptable. Continue to preach only that Jesus is Lord. Let us pray for all Christians who are currently being persecuted in the world. Amen