4:1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy [cf. Acts 9:1-19; Eph. 2:4; Titus 3:5] we have this ministry [God uses us because He is good, not because we are good], we do not lose heart [to not become discouraged or behave with cowardice].
4:2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways [unlike some of Paul’s critics whose methods and motives were suspect]; we do not use deception, nor do we distort [word commonly used in the marketplace to describe tactics of unscrupulous merchants who, for example, adjusted their scales to take advantage of customers] the word of God [as did Paul’s opponents]. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled [obscure], it is veiled to those who are perishing [those who refuse to place their trust in Christ].
4:4 The god of this age [Satan, whose agenda is to steal, kill, and destroy (cf. Jn. 10:10)] has blinded [Satan uses the things of this world to blind people] the minds of unbelievers [cf. 2 Cor. 11:14-15], so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who [Jesus who lived and walked among us] is the image [cf. Col. 1:15] of God [who is invisible (cf. 1 Tim. 6:16)].
4:5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord [cf. 1 Cor. 2:1-2], and ourselves as your servants [cf. Rom. 1:1; 1 Cor. 4:1; 2 Cor. 11:23; Gal. 1:10] for Jesus’ sake.
4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness [cf. Gen. 1:2-5],” made his light [which can illumine dark hearts and minds] shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
4:8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
4:9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
4:10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
4:11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.
4:12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
4:13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak,
4:14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.
4:15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart [Paul endured because he had an eternal perspective and knew there was more than just this life]. Though outwardly we are wasting away [our physical bodies are in the process of wasting away], yet inwardly [the part of us (soul) that will survive physical death] we are being renewed day by day.
4:17 For our light and momentary troubles [cf. 2 Cor. 11:23-29 re: the hardships Paul endured] are achieving [sufferings produced something that would last for all eternity…] for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all [cf. Rom. 8:18].
4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen [the decay of the outer person], but on what is unseen [the eternal glory believers will enjoy]. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.