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In the Sight of God

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A Sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

The Light of the Gospel

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (ESV)

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Why did Paul feel the need to defend his calling as an apostle? This is the question that arises when we read 2 Corinthians 4:1-6, and we see that he is concerned to defend both his ministry and his calling as an apostle of Jesus Christ. There were those in the Church at Corinth that opposed Paul and thought he had a weak presence. According to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the reason it is important that Paul defends his apostleship is seen when we understand that it is the apostles that God used to give us the Scriptures, and it is the apostles that were foundational to the early church. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains, Paul is not only defending his ministry, but he is also fighting for the validity of the Gospel message that confronts the world. When Paul does defend his ministry, he appeals to the calling that he received from the risen Lord. Paul makes it clear that his authority does not come from men, but from God. Therefore his message is also from God. The Church would do well to look to the example of Paul who defends his message not by boasting in himself, but by boasting in Christ Jesus.


Additional Scripture Translations

2 Corinthians 4:1-6, New American Standard Bible

Paul’s Apostolic Ministry

1Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in trickery nor distorting the word of God, but by the open proclamation of the truth commending ourselves to every person’s conscience in the sight of God. 3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they will not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants on account of Jesus. 6For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:1-6, King James Version

1Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.


About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.