Since God in his mercy has given us such a commission, we never lose heart. Furthermore, we reject the use of shameful and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. Rather, by telling the truth in plain language, we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it’s only veiled to those who are on their way to disaster. For the so-called god of this age has blinded the minds of the people who don’t believe. That’s why they can’t see the light of the gospel, the message of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone his light into our hearts so we can see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this light – this valuable treasure – contained in bodies that are like jars of clay to show that this great power comes from God and not ourselves. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; knocked down, but not knocked out. We’re always carrying around in our bodies the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his may be revealed in our mortal bodies. Thus death is at work in us, but life is at work in for you.
It is written: “I believed, therefore I spoke.” And we, who share that same spirit of faith, also believe, and therefore speak. For we know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, will also raise us with Jesus and present us, together with you, to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the love which is reaching more and more people will result in much rejoicing and overflow to the glory of God.
That’s why we never lose heart. Though outwardly we’re wasting away, inwardly we’re being renewed every day. Our troubles are small and won’t last very long, yet they’re producing for us a glory that outweighs them all and will last forever! So we don’t fix our eyes what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen will soon be gone, but what is unseen will last forever.