Spiritual Treasure in Clay Jars
1 God, with his mercy, gave us this work to do, so we don’t give up. 2 But we have turned away from secret and shameful ways. We don’t use trickery, and we don’t change the teaching of God. We teach the truth plainly. This is how we show people who we are. And this is how they can know in their hearts what kind of people we are before God. 3 The Good News that we tell people may be hidden, but it is hidden only to those who are lost. 4 The ruler* The ruler Literally, “The god.” of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They cannot see the light of the Good News—the message about the divine greatness of Christ. Christ is the one who is exactly like God. 5 We don’t tell people about ourselves. But we tell people that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we tell them that we are your servants for Jesus. 6 God once said, “Let light shine out of the darkness!”† Let … darkness See Genesis 1:3. And this is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts to let us know that his own divine greatness is seen in the face of Christ.
7 We have this treasure from God, but we are only like clay jars that hold the treasure. This is to show that the amazing power we have is from God, not from us. 8 We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We often don’t know what to do, but we don’t give up. 9 We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed. 10 So we constantly experience the death of Jesus in our own bodies, but this is so that the life of Jesus can also be seen in our bodies. 11 We are alive, but for Jesus we are always in danger of death, so that the life of Jesus can be seen in our bodies that die. 12 So death is working in us, but the result is that life is working in you.
13 The Scriptures say, “I believed, so I spoke.”✡ Quote from Psalm 116:10. Our faith is like that too. We believe, and so we speak. 14 God raised the Lord Jesus from death, and we know that he will also raise us with Jesus. God will bring us together with you, and we will stand before him. 15 All these things are for you. And so the grace of God is being given to more and more people. This will bring more and more thanks to God for his glory.
Living by Faith
16 That is why we never give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. 17 We have small troubles for a while now, but these troubles are helping us gain an eternal glory. That eternal glory is much greater than our troubles. 18 So we think about what we cannot see, not what we see. What we see lasts only a short time, and what we cannot see will last forever.
*4:4 The ruler Literally, “The god.”