2nd Corinthians Chapter 4: The Spirit of Faith; The Message, Gospel & Truth revealed to Paul Reflects onto and from Believers while Satan blocks it from Unbelievers:Volume 5, Number 62
Created Date: December 2, 2023
Posted Date: December 2, 2023
Paul opens the 4th chapter: “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;”. “This ministry” refers to the New Covenant/Testament revealed in the 3rd chapter, and “The Gospel” later here in chapter 4. The Holy Spirit made Paul an able minister of this gospel/ministry, . This ministry/gospel had been a mystery/secret before it was revealed to Paul, ; . The four words “we have received mercy” are translated from the Greek “eleeo” (G1653) found 31 times in the New Testament (NT) translated variously in other passages: “have mercy on, obtain mercy, have compassion on, shew mercy, have compassion, have pity on, have mercy, have mercy upon.” Thus, it was by God’s mercy that Paul received his ministry/gospel and as a result he was not weak or weary, which by implication means he would not fail. All believers since Paul have this ministry as all are beneficiaries of God’s mercy and should not be weak in well doing, ; .
continues “But (on the contrary) (“we,” from the 3 “we’s” in verse 1, i.e., Paul and those with him) have renounced the hidden (concealed) things of dishonesty (or shame), not walking (living, deporting oneself) in craftiness (trickery, subtilty), nor handling the word of God deceitfully (these 6 English words are translated from 4 Greek words, one of which is found only here, “dol-o-o” meaning to ensnare or adulterate, so the meaning is clearly that Paul did not adulterate God’s Word); but by manifestation (making known) of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight (in the face of, literally or figuratively, before, in the presence) of God.
Next, Paul reveals why many people do not respond to and believe the Gospel. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 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.”. The word Gospel found two times in these two verses is from the Greek “euanggelion” (G2098) meaning “a good message or good news.” As noted above, this “Gospel” is the “message” Paul refers to in the first verse and as “the truth” in the second verse, it being what God held secret until He revealed it to Paul. It is different from that which Jesus Christ preached on earth, i.e., “The Gospel of the Kingdom,” as found in the first time it occurs in the NT: “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” . The Apostle Peter continued offering the same Gospel of the Kingdom to Israel as recorded in the first few chapters of Acts.
Interestingly, the two English words “should shine” inis from the Greek “augad’zo” (G826) from a word meaning “to beam forth” so it means to shine a light. This word gets used in the NT only here. The idea is that the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe the glorious gospel of Christ so they can’t see the light of that Gospel. Satan, the Devil is the god of this world and is also described as the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who works in unbelievers, -3. So, it is he and his fallen angels, with whom believers stand against and do spiritual battle, .
Paul did not preach himself; he preached Jesus Christ the Lord for Whose sake he was a servant/slave to the Corinthians (and by extension, to all believers who have followed since then).. The next verse provides another aspect of when The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. At that time, he was a Pharisee named Saul. He was far from looking for The Lord Jesus Christ to be Israel’s Messiah. On the contrary, he was on his way to both persecute and prosecute any Jews who believed Jesus Christ was Israel’s Messiah. Here, Paul recounts that it was the same God Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness when He created the heavens and earth, Who shined His light into Paul’s heart, . This brings to mind : “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” God called Paul in this manner first as a pattern for all who have followed him, in that all who have believed since him have done so because God has shined the light into each person’s heart to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ. Of course, none have experienced the light that blinded Paul, but instead have been exposed to the light of God’s Word cast forth in Paul’s epistles.
Paul gives total credit for proclaiming the Gospel to the Power of The Lord Jesus Christ by comparing himself to a clay pot (which is easily crushed and broken) in which the Gospel was carried forth. To demonstrate, Paul reports how he suffered trouble without being distressed (hemmed in) with no way out, but never-the-less never losing; he was persecuted but not left behind; cast down but not annihilated,. “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 always 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.” . This truth is also expressed in : “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” The last phrase in verse 12 explains the results of Paul’s suffering and persecutions, it being “So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” The death that worked in Paul resulted in eternal life to all who have believed the Gospel Paul preached.
As to the Faith of the Son of God by which Paul and all believers live, Galatians 2:20, the word “faith” occurs for the 3rd time in 2nd Corinthians in: “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;” “Faith” here is the Genitive of Apposition, faith being the Spirit’s gift, as in : “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;” Note 2 Corinthians 4:13 begins “We having the same spirit of faith,” which indicates that all believers have the same spirit of faith. And it continues “according as it is written, ‘I believed, and therefore have I spoken;’ we also believe, and therefore speak;” The first phrase, “I believed, and therefore have I spoken” is quoted from a. Paul believed the Gospel he preached and therefore he spoke/preached/documented it in his epistles as he wrote previously: “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” .
The Spirit of Faith possessed by all true believers brings the comfort of their hope (earnest expectation), which is the Rapture when, whether dead or alive, all will be caught up to be with our Lord Jesus Christ: “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;” .
The bottom line of this chapter is wrapped up in the last verse: “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.”. All things on earth that are seen are temporary, not limited to but including wealth, prestige, social standing, the magnificent church edifices with their stained glass windows, etc. On the other hand, things that are not seen are Spiritual and eternal. This is the Spirit of Faith because “… faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” . Amazing, the Spirit of Faith provides believers hope (what they earnestly expect) even though it cannot be seen (beheld/perceived) - “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” .