Preaching Series on 2 Corinthians

[This is Week 4 of a 6-week preaching series on 2 Corinthians.]

Psalm 23
"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist. Image © by John August Swanson.  Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.

June 12, 2016

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Commentary on 2 Corinthians 4:16—5:10

[This is Week 4 of a 6-week preaching series on 2 Corinthians.]

Week 4 (June 12, 2016)         

Preaching text: 2 Cor 4:16 — 5:10; accompanying text: Mark 8:22-26
Theme: Walk by Faith not Sight
As Paul has maintained, all of this takes place amid everything we undergo in bodies. Every momentary affliction — every pathos we undergo — now becomes a place where the excess of an “eternal weight of glory” gets worked out in our lives. This takes place precisely as we interpret what we can see, what is temporary in our lives, from the standpoint of what we cannot see, what is eternal.

To describe how all this takes place in our lives, Paul mixes two classic metaphors for mortal vulnerability: nakedness and a tent. Longing to be “clothed” with a heavenly “building,” we groan — much like a mother groans as she gives birth to a child — yearning for protection against life’s vicissitudes and a permanent space for ourselves. But amid all this God is producing the very things we groan for within us. We have been given us God’s Spirit as a guarantee and the Spirit, as Paul will later say in Romans 8, groans within and through our very groans (2 Cor 5:1-5; see also Rom 8:26).

So we can always be confident — even amid our yearning for an immediate intimacy with God where we can be completely “at home.” But we walk by faith not sight. God’s consolation does not take place in some ethereal heaven or out of body experience; it does not immune us from life’s travails or our responsibilities to one another. Like everyone else, we too will have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ and receive recompense for what we have done in our bodies, whether good or bad (2 Cor 5:6-10).