For September 5, 2021
While in Macedonia on his third missionary journey, Paul wrote Second Corinthians. Scholars place the writings sometime after he wrote First Corinthians, around 57 AD. Second Corinthians contains Paul’s personal experiences with the Lord and features his testimony, Apostleship, restoration and unity within the church, and the need to financially support the Judean church. Paul also writes about being ‘caught up to the Third Heaven’ to answer certain Judaizers; the “super apostles,” who challenged his apostolic authority.
As he writes this encouraging letter to the Believers at Corinth, Paul states,
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, 16-18 (NKJV)
From these poignant words, five theme emerge:
I. We have this treasure in earthen vessels.
As it was customary in Paul’s day for nobles to store their treasures in clay containers “earthen vessels” for safekeeping, God has chosen you and me to store His eternal, heavenly treasures.
Through us, our God has chosen to make known to others everywhere around the world the incomprehensible riches of one all-compassing mystery: Christ in you, the hope of glory! Colossians 1:27 (My Paraphrase)
Christ in you, the hope of Glory provides us with:
- Forgiveness of Sin—Salvation
- Reconciliation with God—Atonement
- Indwelling of the Holy Spirit—Sanctification
- Assurance of eternal life—Glorification
II. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
Despite our adversity, we can rest assured that the Our Lord, the Good Shepherd is with us: loving us, caring for us, protecting us, and providing for us each day until the day He returns for us (or we go to Him in death).
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. Psalm 23 (NKJV)
III. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV)
IV. Our light affliction, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:2 (NKJV)
V. We do not look at the visible, but the invisible. For what is seen is temporary, but what is not seen is eternal.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:1,6 (NKJV)
There is an old hymn that speaks to our grace and favor with God.
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say1
Horatius Bonar (1808—1889)
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me, and rest; Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast.” I came to Jesus as I was, Weary and worn and sad; I found in Him a resting place, And He has made me glad.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give The living water thirsty one, Stoop down, and drink, and live.” I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life-giving stream; My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, And now I live in Him.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “I am this dark world’s Light; Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, And all thy day be bright.” I looked to Jesus, and I found In Him my Star, my Sun; And in that Light of life I’ll walk Till trav ‘ling days are done.
Despite how the world identifies us as being insignificant and worthless, or how the adversities and uncertainties we experience can make us feel helpless and hopeless at times, God has declared otherwise.
We are His prized possession, and we have been entrusted with His glorious, heavenly treasure that ensures we will have His abundant life now; while it also guarantees that we will reach our ultimate destination—eternal life with God! Won’t you trust in the Lord today?
What a Wonderful Savior!