2 Corinthians 4:7-18 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. KJV
Paul had come to understand completely that in his flesh dwelt no good thing as he declared in Romans 7:18, but he also understands as he writes here that there is a treasure or thesauros meaning a deposit of wealth being the Holy Spirit that causes him, the Corinthian believers, and each one of us to overcome by God’s Power and not from any human will or effort on our parts, although our part is subjection, submittal, or surrender to the Spirit of God. Paul knows fully that in him there is no strength to endure the great trauma his spirit, soul, and body has endured thus far and will continue to endure all the way until he is executed by having his head chopped off. Paul begins to detail some of his and the others hardship by first using the English verb troubled or as it is translated in Greek thlibo and this verb means to crowd or press (like grapes formed into juice for wine); a compressed, narrow, straitened, and contracted way; to be afflicted or distressed. Paul and his fellow workers faced this trouble or thlibo daily and in every place but were never overcome by it because of the treasure or thesaurus of God in him enabling him to endure. Paul declares to have often found himself perplexed or aporeo meaning to seem to have no way out or at a loss mentally or to stand in doubt not knowing what to do, but despite these real feelings, God enabled him and the others to never be in despair or despondent or to renounce all hope over the circumstances within his heart or inner man.
Paul was often persecuted or dioko meaning pursued by satan and his demons, and the human instruments he worked through causing Paul to flee or run away at times but also being caught and suffering as he described in (2 Corinthians 11:23-27), yet Paul was never forsaken or deserted or left behind or alone by God the Father, our Lord Jesus, or the Holy Spirit as the writer of Hebrews declares with these words, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6). Paul could easily write that everywhere he went he carried with him all of the marks of brutal beatings he endured by the grace of God for Christ sake, but in the dying and deteriorating of his physical body dwelt the resurrection life of our Lord Jesus Christ in him that could never be beaten, battered, or brutalized out of him by satan’s persecution, no matter the harshness and cruel intensity of it. Paul declares a great paradox by this statement that completely contradicts itself when he writes, “So death works in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:12) meaning that although his body is being beaten even to the point of physical death, yet his teaching and preaching “in person” and through his epistles or letters to them works or energizes God’s spiritual life within their souls.
Paul declares his faith and the Corinthians and us to be just as the Psalmist wrote long ago as he too was suffering affliction from enemies trying to take his life when he wrote, “I believed, therefore, I spoke, I am greatly afflicted” (Psalms 116:10) meaning despite the threats to life, he still declares the gospel of Christ wherever he goes. This faith did not come from the Psalmist or Paul or his fellow workers or the Corinthian believers or us today but it is the gift of God as Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians with these words, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Paul is confident in his resurrection and the Corinthian believers resurrection and our resurrection into our glorified body like that of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:53-55). Paul declares that everything he has endured up to the point of the penning of this letter and everything he will endure in the future is all for Christ sake and every person who trust in Him.
Paul faints not or ekkakeo meaning to be weak or weary because he knows that despite the reality of his perishing or decaying body, the real him (his inner man) is being strengthen and caused to grow up daily. Paul lived with such a great disposition in regard to all of the suffering he encountered and endured in his physical body for Christ sake and that of the gospel of grace, for he refers to it here as being light or elaphros meaning easy and he declares it to be “which is but for a moment” or the Greek word parautika meaning simply momentary or fleeting, that which last but for a brief time. Here Paul brilliantly contrast the afflictions of suffering with the glory revealed in us in our glorified bodies (Romans 8:18) and the light suffering compared to the exceeding or great weight found in our perfect, powerful, and permanent glorified bodies we long and yearn for (Romans 8:23) and finally the momentary or briefness of our sufferings with sin and persecution to the everlasting and eternal glorified body we will inhabit in heaven with Christ Jesus our Lord (Colossians 3:4), and therefore, we look past what we can see with our physical eyes and we look to Him (Christ Jesus our Lord) who is invisible to our physical eyes but not to our eyes of faith.
“They knew that Christ was raised, and that His Resurrection was an earnest and assurance of theirs. This he had treated of largely in his former epistle to these Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 15:1. And therefore their hope was firm, being well grounded, that He who raised up Christ the head will also raise up all His members. Note, The hope of the resurrection will encourage us in a suffering day, and set us above the fear of death; for what reason has a good Christian to fear death, that dies in hope of a joyful resurrection?” Matthew Henry
“The earthen vessel which holds the priceless treasure of the knowledge of God-the lamp of frail ware in which the light of Christ’s glory shines for the illumination of the world-is human nature as it is; man’s body in its weakness, and liability to death; his mind with its limitations and confusions; his moral nature with its distortions and misconceptions, and its insight not yet half restored. It was not merely in his physique that Paul felt the disparity between himself and his calling to preach the Gospel of the glory of Christ; it was in his whole being. But instead of finding in this disparity reason to doubt his vocation, he saw in it an illustration of a great law of God. It served to protect the truth that salvation is of the Lord.” From the Expositors Bible Commentary 1886-1897
“The many Christians who are imprisoned right at this moment for Christ sake (like Pastor Saeed in Iran) being tortured far beyond what we could imagine, have surely received grace from our Lord Jesus to see the words Paul has written in this section of his epistle and find that strength that Paul himself found “the treasure in earthen vessels” to endure as Paul endured.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…