2 Corinthians 4:7–18 (NKJV)
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.
13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
This passage of Scripture illuminates the sacrifice and danger associated with the pioneering work of Paul and his colleagues in spreading the gospel around the known world. Paul considers the message of the cross to be a treasure, and he and his fellow ministers are earthen vessels, showing that the message is from God and not of man. He describes the trouble and pain of ministry with the opposition of naysayers that presses, perplexes, persecutes, strikes down, and even kills, yet they are not stopped, not destroyed or crushed by the weight of the opposition. If the opposition even costs them their lives, that is also a reflection of God’s glory, for it leads to the life of those who will believe! Paul relates the role of faith, stating that the faith within the witness will take them through whatever pain they must experience, even the pain of death, for faith will assure the resurrection in the end. The outward man may perish, but the inward man is renewed day by day. This light affliction, lasting only a moment, will pass away, and the result will be an exceeding and eternal glory. This pain is temporary, but the blessing to come is eternal. Therefore, believe for the life to come, the rewards of eternity, and the blessing that will be heaven. That is the goal of the believer. Trust Him and see the eternal future in sight!