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The life and work of a servant (4:1-18)
God’s true servants do not avoid their responsibilities or use dishonest methods. They do not change the plain meaning of God’s Word to suit themselves, but teach that Word faithfully and directly (4:1-2). Not all will believe, because Satan blinds their minds, but true preachers remember always that the message they preach is Christ’s, not theirs. Then, when the hearers allow the light of that message to shine into their hearts, they see Christ as their Lord and God (3-6).
It seems strange that the priceless treasure of knowing Christ should be given to ordinary human beings, people beset by troubles and imperfections. It is like putting costly jewellery into an earthenware pot (7). Paul’s life is not one of glory and honour; it is one of continual suffering and trouble. Yet his faith is never shaken. After all, if Christ suffered such things, his disciples should not be surprised when they too suffer. But this same life of Christ in him turns these sufferings into victories (8-11). Such a life is worthwhile when it is the means of bringing spiritual life to others (12).
As with the psalmist, so with Paul, his faith in God causes him to express his confidence amid all his afflictions (13; cf. Psalms 116:9-11). Even if his sufferings lead to death, that will not mean defeat, because death itself will be conquered by Jesus Christ (14). Meanwhile the unfailing servant of God makes every effort to build up more and more people in the knowledge of God, and so bring glory to him (15).
In view of all this, Paul does not become discouraged. Though physically troubled and weary, he is inwardly strengthened. He sees his sufferings as small and temporary when compared with the unseen and eternal glories that one day will be his (16-18).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25