The simplicity of Paul’s life and his approach to the ministerial work handed over to him is both emotional and challenging. He first discussed the greater glory of the new covenant in Jesus’ blood in chapter 3, then progresses to chapter 4 to show that this wonderful ministry has been handed over to us: mere earthen jars; ordinary clay. It wasn’t handed over to more spiritual beings like angels, rather to ordinary weak and fragile people like us. God has done this to show his glorious power more to the world. It becomes evident that God wants the world to see that he is the one working out his purpose in all of the universe.
For if the bearers of this new testament truth were some mighty aliens, probably the world would be in awe. But God wanted man to be part of what he is doing, for the work is by man and for man but all Excellency and power is of God. That no one may attribute even what is being done through him to himself since it is evident that no man has such powers in himself. No matter the level of gifting or spiritual impartation we might possess we know that the power working it out does not originate from us but from God. Hence, there is no room for boasting. There is no room for pride. There is no room for praises and accolades since we know that the ability to do or achieve is not in us. This is what every believer must put in the fore front of their minds so as to avoid the error of arrogating any glory, honour or praise to themselves. .
Read also: “Greater Glory”
Paul progresses to highlight in verse 2, that as bearers of this great treasures of grace, we have renounced
1. the hidden things of dishonesty – this means we have rejected hypocritical life. What we preach is who we are.
2. Not walking in craftiness – not trying to manipulate by any means
3. Nor handling the word of God deceitfully – preaching a diluted version of the word of God for
4. But by manifestation of the truth we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience – our lives are not obscure. It gives no room for doubts. It shines very bright before men that they see our unquestionable purity that can’t be denied.
Yet we suffer. But our suffering is part of the process through which God works out his great plan. He ensures that we do not depend on ourselves or feel sufficient. So he keeps showing us through various life situations that without him we are nothing. A servant of God does not rest…you can’t even afford to enjoy sleep when there is God’s work to be done. You’re passing through a lot of pressures yet God is sending people to you for counselling and prayers…you are in lack, yet you are mandated to share the little you have. As we continue with God, serving in spite of our own troubles, we experience verses 8-11 first hand. As we grow together with him, it becomes our lifestyle; troubled on every side but not destroyed. Our joy however lies in the fact that as we suffer these things, God’s glory is being worked out in the transformed lives of the people we minister to (verse 12). Our ultimate consolation is in the eternal glory that awaits all true servants of God. In verse 17-18 we see “For our light affliction is but for a moment, yet, it works out a far more exceeding weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but on the things which are not seen” Alleluia!