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. [2 corinthians 4:1-6]
we do not lose heart. our ministry is this, we are “being transformed from one degree of glory to another.” marc spoke for four challenges we face as believers:
-the army of the lost
-satan and his temporary rule
false teaching- “if anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. he has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain” (1 tim 6:3-5).
army of the lost- “do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (james 4:4). “no one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (matt 6:24).
satan and his temporary rule- “the god of this world” (2 cor 4:4). “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (john 10:10). “he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (john 8:44). “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 peter 5:8).
our flesh- this ministry peter compares by saying “your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire” (1 peter 1:7). in this imagery the testing is literally the process of melting gold down to a liquid so they could skim off the impurities within in order to make it more valuable. sanctification is hard, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires” is the final pressing we have against us (eph 4:22).
all of that seems scary and hard, but 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. we have the light of Christ, we have the God of angel armies on our side, we have the Father of truth, we have a God of comfort who seeks to build us up. paul starts with we do not loose heart, because in the end there is no reason to loose heart, because the God of victory has the final say.
~ holly russell