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Incomparable eternal weight of glory

Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Paul had spoken in several instances about his suffering and blessing for the sake of the gospel. How was he able to have this kind of perspective though he went through suffering sharing to others the message of salvation and yet call these sufferings a blessing? Chapter 4 of 2 Corinthians provided the answer. In v. 10, he said, “We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed in our body.” To carry around the death of Christ was to suffer repeatedly for his glory. Paul declared that these sufferings happen always. There was a purpose to all this suffering. The goal was that the life of Jesus might also be revealed in their body. Paul taught throughout his epistles that the reward for those who suffered for Christ was a resurrection body for eternal life. “My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). The corruptible, mortal human bodies of believers will enjoy the resurrection power that brought Jesus back to life. His life will be displayed in what God does with our mortal body. Then in v. 13, Paul said, “And since we have the same spirit of faith in keeping with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak.” This was a quote from Psalm 116:10. The Psalmist had spoken about what he believed and he knew that having such conviction would lead to affliction. Paul had just written that he had been persecuted and had despaired and that death worked in him. Still, his faith remained strong. Under these conditions, he identified with the psalmist. Thus, Paul quoted the psalmist’s assertion of faith, implying that he spoke with that same spirit of faith. The ultimate reason why he will not give up in proclaiming was that the gospel might reach more and more people throughout the world. These people would then cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. His confidence flowed from his understanding that God purposed everything in his ministry to contribute to the glory of God. It is one thing to read through Paul’s account of his sufferings and declare that he was still blessed and it's another thing entirely to embrace that mind-set. When all hell breaks loose against you, how do you cope as follower of Christ? Find encouragement and refreshment that our sufferings are relatively insignificant by comparison with the eternal glory that far outweighs them.


Noel De Guzman

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