Wednesday, April 3, 2013
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (2 Corinthians 4:17 KJV).
A brief, light annoyance—an everlasting, much heavier weight of praise and worship….
When we study the Bible dispensationally, and understand that Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, are God’s Word to us, we have a new outlook on sickness and suffering. What seems like God’s unhappiness with us, what appears to be God’s wrath upon us, what feels like God’s forsaking us, is not really that at all.
In the context of today’s Scripture (4:1–6:18), the Apostle Paul discussed the ministry we have as “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). He lists various afflictions that he and we Christians suffer, but concluded: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
The “earthen vessels,” of course, are these physical bodies made “of the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7). As people who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, our earthly tabernacles are “vessels,” and they contain a “treasure.” What is this treasure? Paul identifies it in 2 Corinthians 4:10,11: “…That the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” This produces the “eternal weight of glory” of today’s Scripture—nothing pleases the God of creation more than the life of His obedient, only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
What Paul is saying is that the very life of Jesus Christ manifests itself in and through us Christians when we walk by faith in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to us. The sound Pauline Bible doctrine enables us to think about sickness and suffering as Jesus Christ did. By faith, we look at the broader picture—the sound Bible doctrine works mightily in us to bring glory to its Author, the God of the Bible….