2 Corinthians 4:1-7 ESV
“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
The ministry being spoken of here is the ministry of the gospel, and it is the ministry to the body of Christ in encouraging them in their walks of faith to live godly and holy lives to the glory of God, and to live no longer according to the flesh. So this ministry involves us renouncing disgraceful and underhanded ways which many people today are incorporating in their ministries, to their shame. And this ministry also involves us rejecting the tampering with God’s word and the utilizing of cunning and craftiness in deceitful scheming. And so we are those who tell the truth as we know it.
But sadly so, it appears that the majority of those who profess to be ministers of the gospel in America today are indeed those who use cunning and craftiness in deceitful scheming, and who are tampering with God’s word, and who are making use of disgraceful and underhanded ways, some of which they are learning in their training sessions. I know this because my husband and I went through some of that training, and we were taught some of those underhanded ways, and I have seen the results of those deceitful ways in how many today are perceiving the truth of the gospel.
So, it isn’t just those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ who are being blinded to the truth of the gospel, but it appears that in America today that the blinded are the majority of those professing faith in Jesus Christ, for they are buying into the lies, and they are rejecting the truth. And many of them won’t even look at the truth for they want to believe the lies, because the lies allow them to continue in deliberate and habitual sin while claiming Jesus as Lord and Savior and while claiming heaven as their eternal home. So they are self-deceived, and they will not inherit eternal life.
Now, we who are ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which should be all believers in Jesus Christ, though not all of us full-time, should be those who give glory and honor to God and who do not do what we do for the glory of man (the flesh). We should do what we do because we love God and we love our fellow humans and we want to see them be in true relationship with Jesus Christ and to have true salvation from sin and eternal life with God. And so that is why we tell the truth as we understand it, and we do not make lying our practice, as many do. And that is why we suffer as we do.
Now I really like verse 7 here where it says that we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. For we are still clay in the Potter’s hands, and he is still in the process of shaping and molding us into his likeness, and we will not be absolutely perfect until Jesus Christ returns for his bride and he takes us to be with him for eternity. But we do not use lack of perfection as an excuse for continuing in sin. For we should not continue in sinful practices, but we should be those who are living godly and holy lives to the praise of God, and for the glory of God.
Gifts and Ministries of the Spirit of God: [Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Jn 4:31-38; Jn 13:13-17; Jn 14:12; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:42-47; Acts 26:18; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom 10:14-15; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 3:17; 1 Co 5:1-13; 1 Co 6:19-20; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 1:4,22; Eph 2:19-22; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-30; Col 1:18-22; Col 2:19; Col 3:12-16; 2 Tim 1:9; 2 Tim 2:21; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:23-31; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Pet 1:13-16; 1 Pet. 2:4-9,21]
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Near the Cross
Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869
Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
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