On to 2 Cor 4:1-6
Once we have received salvation, we become a purchased possession or instrument of the living G-d, to serve His purposes. The gospel is a plan, a revelation, of G-d’s redemption. Once we have been redeemed, part of the plan is that our mortal bodies become an ordered and functional temple for the Holy Spirit, so that we might glorify G-d even while we are within these human bodies. In this chapter Paul gives us wisdom and counsel regarding being transformed and conformed to the will and purposes of G-d – learning how to walk with G-d and how to participate in His purposes (how to do what He has saved us to do). Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes this chapter from G-d’s perspective and not from his own perspective.
v1: We: This is relevant for ALL believers.
- Ministry: This ministry or service to G-d is not a “if we feel like it”, but it is an obligation that we have been called to do for Him once we are saved
- Received mercy: This is written in the passive. We cannot get mercy for ourselves. It is only through the work of Messiah and His grace that we can become recipients of mercy. Mercy is foundational for beginning the work of G-d in a person’s life.
- Do not lose heart: Do not despair. Do not grow weary. Receiving G-d’s mercy has an effect on us. It causes us to not become easily discouraged or worn out in doing that which is good. It energizes us and gives us a passion for the work of G-d.
v2: But: In contrast to. A change happens.
- Renounced: Rejected. To reject or to renounce means to strongly affirm that something is no longer a part of our lives. We no longer have anything to do with these things that work in our lives in an adverse way.
- Hidden things: Things that people do that they do not want anyone to know about. Hidden agendas, hidden behaviours.
- Hidden things of shame: If others knew that we were doing those things they would be a cause for our personal shame. People cover, hide or camouflage these things. This is not what a true believer does. We need to live very transparent lives.
- Craftiness: Deceitfulness. Something that’s not up front, not clear or not easily discerned. People think hard about how they are going to hide these things.
- Handling the Word of G-d deceitfully: Adulterating or perverting it. It is so significant that when Paul talks about lifestyle he always turns quickly to Scripture, to the Word of G-d.
- Commending: A word of presentation and a word of transparency. We are living and behaving in such a way that no matter who we encounter their conscience will bear witness that what we are saying or doing is righteous and proper, G-dly.
- Every mans conscience: See comments of 2 Cor 1:12.
- In the sight of G-d: Before G-d. In the Presence of G-d where nothing is ever hidden, but all is exposed. He agrees with this evaluation.
v3: Our gospel: Referring to the gospel of Messiah – the proclamation of His death, burial, and resurrection.
- Veiled: Hidden. This is a word which comes from something that has been hidden in the past, is hidden now and will continue to be hidden. It is hidden for those who refuse to acknowledge the gospel or see it as significant or valuable…those who are perishing.
- Perishing: They have no interest in the things of G-d and so do not respond to Him.
v4: The G-d of this age: Most of the Bible translations say this is referring to satan and they write it with a small ‘g’. However the Greek word here is ‘Theos’ which is a word that refers to G-d, the Supreme Divinity – which satan is not.
- The G-d of this age has blinded (the thoughts): This is a foundational and vital spiritual principle. There are those who wilfully, knowingly, reject truth (see Roms 1:18-32). Their consciences tell them that what they are hearing is right and that they need to respond by falling under conviction. If they DO respond to that conviction (G-d’s grace drawing them to Himself) they will be brought closer to G-d until they become believers. But if they reject that conviction (received through the prompting of their conscience) that rejection begins to harden their hearts and take them further and further away from G-d (like Pharoah in the book of Exodus – Exodus 7-10) Pharoah hardened his heart (of his own accord) again and again. Eventually G-d stepped in and worked with Pharoah to harden Pharoah’s heart (from the 6thplague onwards). It is at that point that we can say that G-d then blinded the eyes of Pharoah. Consistently saying “no” to G-d leads to darkness, a spiritual blinding, in a person’s perspective.
- Who do not believe: They are against faith. They are against truth. Unbelievers.
- The light of the gospel: The glory of Messiah. The gospel manifests glory and the source of that glory is Messiah – who He is (G-d) and what He has done (clothed Himself with human flesh and then lay down His life for us so that we could have eternal life).
- Who is the image (icon) of G-d: Referring to Yeshua. Yeshua is the perfect representation of G-d. Yeshua is G-d.
- Shine: Illuminate. Enlighten.
v5: We do not preach ourselves but Messiah Yeshua: Paul is making a distinction between us and Messiah.
- Your servants: Knowing Yeshua, understanding what He has done for us, causes us to become committed to serving others – on Messiah’s behalf.
v6: (Spoke): Some Bibles translate this word εἰπών as ‘commanded’ but it is not the word for commanding. G-d does not need to command. His spoken word carries authority.
- Light to shine out of darkness: A reference to creation. The creation account speaks about the authority of G-d to bring order, purpose, meaning, a future. Before G-d spoke the earth was empty and void. It could not produce anything. Everything came into being by the spoken Word of G-d. In our lives what we are called to do, the promises we are going to receive, the rewards, the blessings all begin with the Word of G-d. That is why it is so vitally important for us to be committed to reading, learning and putting the Scripture into practice.
- Light of knowledge: G-d has given us knowledge, illumination, revelation so that we can know truth. Knowing truth brings about the glory of G-d, and it does so in the face of Messiah Yeshua.
- The face of Messiah Yeshua: This can be understood as before Him, in His presence. He is witnessing and overseeing this. He is supplying us with the light. A face can also be taken to mean an idiom for blessing (like the Aaronic benediction – His face shines upon us in order to bless, Num 6:23-27). As we receive illumination, revelation from the Word of G-d, we are going to do ministry which is going to bring about the blessing of Messiah in our lives.