November 28

Read II Corinthians 1 -- 4

In Today's Reading:

Forgiveness of those who repent; Lordship of Christ; Christian suffering

Earthen vessels (clay pots) have very little value of their own. Their essential worth depends upon what they contain. If they are left empty, they have no purpose for existence. However, if they are filled with gold, their value increases dramatically. The body of a Christian is compared to an ordinary clay pot and the precious treasure it contains is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). We have this treasure in earthen vessels (II Corinthians 4:7) and are precious to God and responsible to Him as dispensers of His life-producing Word. Many would assume that no one had more spiritual authority than Paul, yet he wrote: Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith you stand (1:24). The Corinthians were responsible to God, not to Paul, just as any Christian is only responsible to God in matters of faith.

Being accountable to God includes how we respond to experiences common to many of God's children: We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed (puzzled), but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest (known) in our body (4:8-10). Since the Holy Spirit dwells in every Christian, we are expected to express His characteristics during every trial and suffering. We can also face trials and suffering with the confidence that our Lord is lovingly working out what is best for our eternal good.

Trials and troubles, in whatever form, are necessary for spiritual growth; without them, we would not exercise our faith or develop spiritual insight and strength (Acts 14:22; I Peter 1:6-7). Just as it was necessary for Jesus to die, we too must die to self-love and become willing partakers of His sufferings.

Our light affliction (trouble), which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (II Corinthians 4:17-18).

Word Studies:

2:5 not overcharge = not to overstate the case or be too severe; 2:9 know the proof of you = test your loyalty; 2:14 savour = satisfaction, sweetness, like a lovely fragrance; 3:10 even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth = what was glorious (Law given to Moses) has no glory in comparison to the surpassing glory of Jesus Christ; 4:15 redound = abound, overflow, result.

Cross References:

For II Corinthians 3:13: See Exodus 34:33. II Corinthians 4:13: See Psalm 116:10.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Barbara Bivens · Pray for Claudia Wintoch, German translator · Government Official: Rep. Joseph Knollenberg (MI) · Country: Djibouti (447,000) in eastern Africa · Major languages: French and Arabic · Limited religious freedom · 91% Muslim; 7% Roman Catholic; .75% Eastern Orthodox; about 300 Protestants · Prayer Suggestion: Intercede in prayer for your friends (Job 42:7-10).

Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 5:24