Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Resurrection faith refuses to lose heart in the face of death. The old creation and the new creation show us as simultaneous realties. The outworking of the old creation is present as an external process of decay, but new creation shines into the darkness of death through interior renewal day by day. Our daily inner renewal is a reference back to our inner transformation from “ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Furthermore, the eternal weight of glory to come causes Paul not to lose heart. The glory to come is greater than the pain of the present, which is actually producing eternal glory (2 Corinthians 4:17). Losing heart only happens when our eyes are fixed on the visible and the temporal. Hope comes from seeing the unseen things that are unending.
Now that we understand the basics of what Paul was writing to the church at Corinth and to us, let’s dig a little deeper into the meaning of these three powerful verse at the end of 2 Corinthians chapter 4. And the first thing that we are going to look at is found in verse 16. And to be more specific we are going to be focusing on two words found in that verse and those to words are: “outwardly” and “inwardly”.
“Outwardly” refers to the physical body, which is deteriorating and moving toward death because of human mortality and the troubles of life. “Inwardly” refers to a Christian’s human spirit that has been transformed by the spiritual life of Christ. Although our bodies age and decay, we can experience ongoing spiritual renewal through the Holy Spirit, who constantly gives Christ’s life and power to believers. Christ’s leadership and influence enables our minds, emotions, desires and behaviors to conform to his character and eternal purpose.
The second thing that we are going to take a deeper look at are two phrases that we find in verse 17 and those two phrases are: “momentary trouble” and “eternal glory”. The troubles and difficulties endured by those of us who remain faithful to Christ are light and seem as nothing compared to the glory and honor that we will finally gain through Christ. This glory is already revealed in the future (Romans 8:18). For this reason, we must not lose hope or give up our faith as we face all kinds of problems.
And the last and final thing that we are going to take a deeper look at is the one word that occurs in verse 18 and that one word is: eternal. The Greek word “aionios” means “without beginning or end.” It usually means eternal in the sense of endless time. While the things we and experience in this life may at times be hard to understand, they are only temporary and will come to an end. So we strengthen our hearts by thinking on eternal things so that we will not become discouraged. The spiritual rewards and realties that we do not see are every bit as real as what we do see; in fact, the things we do not see are the things that will last forever. As believers, these are the things we must focus on in life.
Today’s Bible Readings:
2 Chronicles 26-28, Romans 13, Psalm 23:1-6 and Proverbs 20:11
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