2 Corinthians 4:15-5:1
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.
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
I don’t know how many times you’ve noticed, but there seems to be connections everywhere. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy working on sermons. Maybe you find out how most of your church community is related in some way, or maybe the same idea just keeps coming up. That’s what happened for me this week in bible study, ladies guild and elsewhere, and that idea, that thought was to cling to God and let Him be in charge, and not to cling to the things in this life. To know and keep in mind that, for us Christians, what is coming, eternal life with God and participation in Christ’s glory at the end of this age, is so much more than the struggles and suffering we experience and put ourselves through in our lives here.
God is telling you through Paul that even though you may be wasting away, maybe because of stress and worry, or the weight of work and expectations, or even as our bodies grow old and fall apart, despite this you have eternal life waiting for you with God, a life that will never decay. Paul has just been telling the Corinthians of his afflictions, his perplextion, persecution and beatings (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). He knew what it meant to suffer in this life, but also to live for the glory of God and to increase the thanksgiving sent God’s way (2 Corinthians 4:15). He knew how to cling to God and not to this world. Do you?
Do you live as if the things in this life are nothing compared to life with God? Do you worry about what you will eat or what you will wear (Matthew 6:25-34)? Do you focus your time and effort to please yourself, eating rich food, drinking much wine/beer, exercising, reading, meeting with others, all these for your benefit, or theirs, but not God’s (1 Peter 4:3-6)? Do you waste this life that God has given you, spending it in front of the T.V. or the computer, or even at work, busying yourself with the tasks and cares of this world, and forgetting to brilliant Good News that God has given you? I know you suffer in this world, but do you hurt because of your sin, or because you live for God (1 Peter 2:19-20)?
Paul too knew he struggled with sin, we have his words that the good he wants to do, he does not do, but the evil he does not want to do he does (Romans 7:15-25). For many of us this is fairly relatable, but sometimes we do want to sin and we don’t want to live this life to the glory of God (1 Peter 4:11). We want to be in charge of our lives and keep the glory for ourselves when we really don’t have much power to change anything, just look at the rain as an example. We want to be the masters of our own little world, to build it up and to be in control. We worry about all the little things of this world, not that we shouldn’t clean our cars, or take care of ourselves and those God has given to us, but instead of clinging to God, relying on Him and letting Him be in charge, we put all the responsibility on ourselves. And then when we fail, not if, but when, we take God’s role as judge and condemn ourselves or others. Does this show God’s glory, or increase thanksgiving toward Him? No.
Paul knew this about himself, but he also knew what Jesus Christ had done for him, and he trusted in that. Certainly he would’ve slipt up, again and again we too know that we have failed, but this doesn’t mean that we cannot be saved. God’s grace is so much more powerful and greater than our sin. If you think your sin in this world is greater than God’s grace then you’re not listening to God, but have been deceived by the father of lie, the devil of this world. We see the struggles in this world, the injustice and evil, we see our own sins, but we do not see what is coming, the great and glorious thing that God does.
These things we see are temporary, here today gone tomorrow, or it might take 1000yrs I don’t know. But we do not see here what God has given us, eternal life with Him. He certainly doesn’t fall apart or waste away, and His promises don’t either. He has promised us that our bodies will be changed into eternal ones just as Jesus Christ was, that we will live together with Him and share in His immense and fantastic glory, more than we could imagine. He tells us here that this comparatively short time of suffering and struggle will end, and God will draw you, His people, to be with Him forever.