To watch a talk on this topic head to the bottom of this study.
The commandment to ‘go and make disciples’ is daunting. It is important to grasp the difference between our role and God’s role in pointing people to Jesus and to leave Him with the results. Otherwise the weight of responsibility will either crush our own spirit and leave us dejected or lead us to become proud.
1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
Paul is writing to a church he knows well and who have been led astray by some eloquent speakers who put their value in their own power and ability to persuade. They accuse Paul of having an unimpressive ministry and being fruitless compared to them. In this passage, he is responding to those claims by showing clearly what our role is and what God’s role is in bringing people to Him.
In our eager desire to see our sports friends become Christians, we can be tempted to leave the hard bits of the message out or encourage people to come to an event without telling them there will be a gospel talk! Paul effectively says, ‘know your role: preach Christ and not yourself. Present the truth plainly and trust it to do its work’.
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
When Paul talks about a ‘veil’, he is referring back to Chapter 3 and the veil Moses wore so people couldn’t see the glory fading (Exodus 34:33-35). Paul makes a comparison with unbelievers having ‘veiled’ minds so they can’t see Jesus clearly.
For those who do not know Christ, we have an opportunity to help them to see the truth of Christ’s gospel by presenting the message clearly.
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
In Genesis 1:3 God says, ’Let there be light’. He creates light out of nothing! Paul refers to it here saying that it takes the same amount of power to unblind a mind to see Christ as it does to create light out of darkness! We don’t have that kind of power.
It is with great relief that we learn that we alone don’t have the power to save someone - God does! Our role is not to deceive or distort His Word but to present His Word plainly.
Give thanks to God for the role we have to play in bringing people to Him. Thank God for His Word. Why not challenge yourself this week to ask a friend if they would like to find out more about Jesus first hand by reading the Bible with you?
All Bible quotations are taken with permission from the NIV:
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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