Tuesday, 14 July 2015
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4:1
In the previous chapter, Paul noted that he and the apostles were ministers of the new covenant (3:6); that it was a ministry of the Spirit (3:8); and that it was a ministry of righteousness (3:9). This is the ministry that he is speaking of. Everything about it is superior to the old covenant which was received by Moses. This ministry, as he explained, is one of revealing the surpassing glory of God that will not fade away.
However, his next words show that he is not bragging about the marvelous honor that has been bestowed up them. Rather, in the reception of the ministry, mercy had been bestowed. As fallen men, they were inherently unworthy of the position and status that they now bore. Paul alludes to this in 1 Timothy 1-
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” 1 Timothy 1:12, 13
In the mercy poured out on him and the others, they were enabled to “not lose heart.” On several occasions, Paul speaks of standing strong in the faith and he encourages others to act likewise. One example of this is found in Galatians 6 –
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9
The term to “lose heart” implies being worn our or wearied to the point that one is no longer effective. But Paul knew that with the reception of God’s mercy came the inner strength to endure the challenges that came with the ministry. Two other instances of the use of this word by Paul are found in Ephesians 3:13 and 2 Thessalonians 3:13.
Paul was constantly encouraging those who had been saved, knowing that like him, they had been given everything necessary to continue their walk of faith to the end.
Life application: If God has saved you, then He has a purpose for you in His church. If He has a purpose for you in His church, then He has also enabled you to meet that purpose. Don’t shrink back from the honor bestowed upon you, but use it to its fullest to His glory.
Lord God, I know for sure that You have had mercy on me in this life. And I know that along with that mercy comes the responsibility to share this knowledge with others. As this is true, then You have certainly endowed me with the ability to fulfill that responsibility. And so help me to use my time wisely in the ministry to which You have called me. I know You are here with me in it and so I know that I can fulfill it! Amen.