The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV)
Read: 2 Corinthians 3:7 – 4:6
Consider: In his second letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul speaks of the ministry in which he and others are engaged. You may have never thought of yourself being in ministry, reserving this for others (pastors, ministers, elders) who lead the church to which you belong. However, when we think of ministry as the role of someone who ministers to the needs of others, we begin to see the application to ourselves. This makes sense within the context of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:27 – Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a part of it. Also in Ephesians he says: So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Ephesians 4:11-12). We see here that while the pastors and teachers minister to the needs of their congregations, this is with a view to enabling them to minister to others so that the body of Christ may be built up. This means that if you attend church, assuming you are there just to have your needs met, you will not be fulfilling your part in building up the church.
In today’s reading Paul also uses the words ‘glory’ and ‘glorious’ to describe the ministry in which we are involved. The Greek words rendered as glory and glorious refer to its magnificence. Paul refers back to Moses whose face shone (Exodus 34:29-35) when he met with God. Paul was not saying that our faces will be radiant when we meet with God, although they might do! What he is saying is that while the glory of the old covenant was such that people noticed it, the glory of the new covenant of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:8) will be even more glorious.
Perhaps you have been involved in full or part-time ministry for some time and have become jaded and disillusioned. Ask God to reveal to you the glory of the ministry in which you are involved. Do not be dragged down, but allow yourself to be encouraged, as you contemplate what this glorious ministry means for you and for those to whom you minister. Notice what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:1 – Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. This is despite the hardship he suffered while sharing the gospel message with others. This is how he describes it later in 2 Corinthians: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (4:8-9). Paul elaborates on his physical sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11:16-28.
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4:5).
Pray: Father, develop a servant heart in us that takes encouragement from the glory of Christ that is revealed in the good news of the gospel and also through the glorious ministry we are involved in with sharing the good news with others. Yet we know that the glory we see today, will be nothing compared with the glory we encounter when we see you face-to-face. Amen
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