July 31: 2 Corinthians 4
New Covenant Ministry
4 Now, it’s because of God’s mercy[a] that we have been entrusted with the privilege of this new covenant ministry. And we will not quit or faint with weariness. 2 We reject every shameful cover-up and refuse to resort to cunning trickery or distorting the Word of God.[b] Instead, we open up our souls to you[c] by presenting the truth to everyone’s conscience in the sight and presence of God. 3 Even if our gospel message is veiled, it is only veiled to those who are perishing, 4 for their minds have been blinded by the god of this age,[d] leaving them in unbelief. Their blindness keeps them from seeing the dayspring light[e] of the wonderful news of the glory of Jesus Christ, who is the divine image of God.
5 We don’t preach ourselves, but rather the lordship of Jesus Christ, for we are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said,
“Let brilliant light shine out of darkness,”[f] is the one who has cascaded his light into us—the brilliant dawning light of the glorious knowledge of God as we gaze into the face of Jesus Christ.[g]
Treasure in Clay Jars
7 We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours.[h] 8 Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option.[i] 9 We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. 10 We continually share in the death of Jesus in our own bodies[j] so that the resurrection life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity. 11 We consider living to mean that we are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that the life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity. 12 So, then, death is at work in us but it releases life in you.
13 We have the same Spirit of faith that is described in the Scriptures when it says,
“First I believed, then I spoke in faith.”[k]
So we also first believe then speak in faith. 14 We do this because we are convinced that he who raised Jesus will raise us up with him, and together we will all be brought into his presence. 15 Yes, all things work for your enrichment[l] so that more of God’s marvelous grace will spread to more and more people, resulting in an even greater increase of praise[m] to God, bringing him even more glory!
16 So no wonder we don’t give up. For even though our outer person gradually wears out, our inner being is renewed every single day. 17 We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, 18 because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.