2 Corinthians 4:7-12
2 Cor 4:7 (KJB)
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
Treasure - Storehouse or treasure receptacle
Earthen - Made of earth or clay
Excellency - Superiority
In Paul’s day many people used to keep their valuables in earthen jars. Many times archaeologists have dug up earthen pots and jars and have found caches of coins or jewelry. Paul is using that as a metaphor that we have the true gospel, which is the truest of all treasures, in our earthen vessels which is our bodies. God took Adam from the earth and this is what Paul has in view. He is stating that the power of the Gospel is radiating from weak earthly bodies at the present which means that the power of God in the Gospel is easily seen that it is from God and not man. The earthly body is weak and has many frailties but God uses us to send forth the Gospel to the world. Since we are weak in body, we can see the power of the Gospel that saves people and changes lives would not be sourced out of a weakly body but out of the power of God dwelling within that body in the person of the Holy Spirit. You preachers would understand this, there were times I had preached a sermon and thought it was a total disaster, and yet, people were blessed by it. What we think is weakness, God will use for strength and that proves how He works in our earthen vessels.
2 Cor 4:8 (KJB)
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Troubled - Oppressed or afflicted
Distressed - Confined, compressed or cramped
Perplexed - To be without resource or be at a loss
Despair - To be in great difficulty
Here Paul is stating his plight that wherever he goes and brings the true Gospel, he faces oppression in every area, yet he knows that even though there is oppression, the true Gospel is never hindered or stopped by oppression. (2 Tim 2:9 KJV) Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Sometimes we feel that when we face oppression, that we are failing in the sending forth of the Gospel but the truth is that even if we are hindered, the true gospel is never hindered. Paul felt that he was without resource sometimes when he faced serious opposition. However, he goes on to say that even though he was in great difficulty he always knew that his source of power was not him, as he stated in the previous verse, but his source of power was God Himself and this was proven by the fact that no matter where Paul went to preach the Gospel, people became saved. The truth is that when people get angry with you, it is probably because you are preaching the truth and it is pricking the hearts of those who are hearing.
2 Cor 4:9 (KJB)
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Persecuted - Pursued or followed after
Forsaken - Abandonment or deserted
Cast down - Put down or thrown down
Destroyed - Ruin, kill, or perish
Paul continues his discussion of almost his daily life. He states that he is persecuted and that carries with it the meaning of “being pursued.” This is exactly what had happened to him as wherever he went the Judaizers had made an attempt to bring his converts back under the law and to discredit Paul and his ministry. Paul stated that even though he was persecuted, he was never forsaken. (Heb 13:5 KJV) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. The Lord Jesus promised that He would never forsake any of His children, no matter who they are or what dilemma they are facing. Paul even got to the point of stating that he was cast down as one would be cast down to the ground but even with the horrendous treatment he received, he also proclaimed that he was not destroyed. No Christian can be destroyed because we serve the Lord God and He is the one who watches over us. If the world succeeds and does physically kill us, it is only a promotion to glory where pain and suffering are no more for eternity. The Christian can be cast down but as long as there is breath, they can come back renewed in the strength of the Lord.
2 Cor 4:10 (KJB)
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Bearing about - Carry about
The Apostle Paul is saying that because of his identification with the Lord Jesus Christ, he carries also the identification with the crucifixion of Christ. To a Jewish person, this would mean that Paul was cursed of God. (Gal 3:13 KJV) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: Since Paul was closely identified with the Lord Jesus, the enemies of Christ had sought to kill him also. Paul had many marks in his body to show how much he had suffered for the sake of the Gospel. No one could surely question as to whether Paul stood for what he preached. It was he who was persecuted for his faith in Christ and he had the bodily marks to prove it. The false teachers did not have marks in their body and were only men of words and not actions. Paul also mentions that the life of Jesus would be made manifest in his body as it is in the body of all believers. When Christ rose from the dead, that meant newness of life for the believer and with that newness of life, every believer manifests the life of Jesus and that includes the part where they are persecuted. No true Christian can go through this life without facing persecution in some form and that is how we carry about the dying of the Lord Jesus in our bodies. The world cannot touch our souls but they can touch our bodies.
2 Cor 4:11 (KJB)
For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
Basically, what Paul is saying here is that as he continues to send forth the Gospel, he is delivered from one persecution to another, and from one threat of death to another. It is these things that are necessary to manifest the life of Jesus in a person. While Jesus walked the streets of Israel bringing the Gospel to the many, beside His teachings, He is greatly known for His crucifixion, death, and resurrection. The believer is also know by the bringing of the Gospel, but when we talk about manifesting the whole of Christ, that would include the sacrifice of the cross and in our case, it would mean sacrificing our lives for the sake of the gospel. That is, we are to spend our life in the furtherance of the Gospel and not seek the creature comforts this world has to offer. We, like Christ, someday will be resurrected from our tombs and then we will have manifested the life of Christ completely as a human can. Until that time, we are to give of ourselves and of our substance to make sure the Gospel goes forth.
2 Cor 4:12 (KJB)
So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
Here Paul basically sums up and states that death works in him through the persecutions and the situations that he was in for the sake of the Gospel. He then states that life works in the Corinthians, that is, they were the recipient of the trials and tribulations of Paul. Paul had suffered to bring the gospel so they would be saved and those who became saved were the beneficiaries of the suffering which Paul endured. This is the life of a missionary. They suffer hardship so others can be saved by the Gospel. As Christians today, the death that works in us is also death to self but to be alive unto God and continue in His work until He takes us home, retires us, or gives us another assignment to bring the Gospel elsewhere. The life of all Christians should be sacrifice and not health, wealth, and prosperity. If those things happen, then we use them to the glory of God, for the taking of the gospel to the world, not for a life of leisure.