Thursday, February 05, 2009

Afflicted but not crushed

I picked up 2 Cor 4 as my reading this morning. This passage is popular, particularly with verses like “we are afflicted … but not crushed … struck down but not destroyed” and “so we do not lose heart, though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day”.

But as I sentence-diagram it, in my own minimal standards of diagramming anyway, I saw a more complete message: the reason for Christian affliction is the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In not compartmentalising our lives, and in line with what Wesley taught, that we are fully and wholly a Christian, there is no one who is “almost a Christian”, we live our lives in all that we do, for the sake of Christ. In all that we do, we live to show and tell His word and His truth to the people around us. We need to live our lives right in Christ.

As such, our lives will cause us great strife. It will be like we are being given over to death (v.11).

I summarise the chapter as follows:

v.1 We have this ministry to proclaim the gospel of Christ.

v.2-7 But even though we may do it commendably and truthfully, it will be veiled to some because of their blindness, but we do it still because we proclaim Christ and not ourselves.

v.8-9 Because of this ministry, we will be afflicted in every way, but we will not be forsaken or destroyed.

v.10-15 We are afflicted because we carry in the body the death of Jesus so that His life may be manifested and more people will be brought into His presence. (Notice the singular "body" - I believe it refers to the Church, i.e. we carry the death of Jesus as a body of Christ, the Church. So we suffer and endure as one Church, not as individuals. What a glorious truth!)

v.16-18 So do not lose heart. Though the affliction is harsh, it is momentary and slight compared to the eternal weight of glory that is to come. (Notice the play of words - momentary vs. eternal, slight vs. weight of glory)

It is an extremely summarised one but I believed it carries the message that we have Christ in us and we are to live Christ in us, in whatever we do, in whatever state we are and wherever we are. As such, we will suffer hardship, and when we do, in whatever form it takes, it is because we are living the ministry of the gospel of Christ.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

Take heart, my friends.



  1. What a wonderful outline of these verses.

  2. Pealie,

    This is such a great outlook and insight. Thanks for the encouraging words.

    God Bless

  3. Thanks Susan, glad you have blessed you with it.

  4. Doug! And I was just thinking about you yesterday when I was housekeeping my feeds. I have deleted them all since I can now view the my regulars quite easily in the blogger dashboard but kept your link, just in case you surface :) and here you are!

    Hope you and all at home have been well. And I am glad that the words have blessed you as they did me.

    Keep well!