Paul begins with identifying how the Corinthian church represents him – they are his resume, his “letter of commendation”. Changed lives speak higher than scholarly works or degrees. He then provides a contrast between the old and new covenants, the one focused on death and paying the price of sin and the new where that sin has been paid and death defeated and we are transformed into God’s likeness anew.
With this he points out how amazing God is. This gift is not limited to kings, to vessels of hardened steel or jewel encrusted containers. But God flows out freely into jars of clay: every day vessels: everyone.
7. a. Rom 7:6 Delivered from the law, died to what we held, to serve in the newness of the spirit
b. John 6:63, It is the spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words are spirit and are life
c. Ex 34:29 Moses veiled his face to shield Isrealites from God’s glory
d. John 1: 14 – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory
e. Matt 13:43 – Righteous will shine line the sun… He who has ears, let him hear
f. Holy Spirit 1 Peter 1:2 The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit
8. The only way to see the whole truth of the scripture is to see Christ – without it we are veiled and unchanged.
9. a. blinded the minds of unbelievers
b. the gospel is veiled to them
c. Jesus through the Holy Spirit
d. Treasure in jars of clay – power is from God
e. Carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body
f. We who are alive are give over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body
g. Believe and speak – renewal of the heart
10. We carry the death (payment of sin) so that we can tell others of the resurrection (rise to glory): unseen is eternal
4 key points to focus on.
1. “I’m not competent/confident/comfortable talking with others about Christ.” Have you ever heard someone say that? Have you ever said it yourself? I sure didn’t expect Paul to be saying it, too. But there it is: vs. 5 and 6. I’m not competent. It is only through Christ. Period.
2. We often think of Christianity in binary terms. Saved or not. In or out. But Paul talks in vs 17-18 about the transforming effects of the Holy Spirit. He talks of it as a continuing path, much like the growth in faith many of us experience, where we continue in glory to better reflect the glory of God in us.
3. vs 10+ talk about the privilege and duty to always remember. We have been invited into this family at great cost. And while we are to grow and love and live and enjoy the great feast and huge benefits of being brothers and sons, it is only through remembering the price that was paid (i.e., we did not earn or deserve it) that we have the ability to offer the gift to others. To get in and grow you must first have the price of admission paid (death), then you can be transformed (spirit).
4. Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Paul does such an amazing job of never looking down into the pit. Regardless of how deep a pit he is pulled into, his eyes remain sky-bound, focused on the eternal.