Life-Study of 2 Corinthiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 3:12-18 we have the first aspect of the description of the ministers of the New Testament. The ministers of the new covenant are constituted by and with the Lord as the life-giving and transforming Spirit. Chapters four through seven are a further description of the New Testament ministers. According to 4:1-6, they conduct themselves for the shining of the gospel of the glory of Christ. Thus, the second aspect concerning the ministers of the new covenant is how they conduct themselves, the way they behave.
Before we consider how the ministers of the new covenant conduct themselves, let us first see the goal, the aim, and the purpose of their conduct. Their conduct is governed and controlled by a purpose. This purpose is to shine the glory of the gospel of Christ. They conduct themselves in such a way that the gospel of Christ may shine through them and out from within them. This is the goal, the purpose, of their living. They do not merely preach the gospel— they shine out the gospel of the glory of Christ.
The gospel preached by Paul was a gospel of glory, a gospel full of light and glory. This glory cannot be conveyed just by speaking, by preaching. It must be expressed through shining. Furthermore, this shining must be the living of the New Testament ministers. Their living is the very shining of the gospel they preach. For them, the gospel is not merely a doctrine. There is no need for a doctrine to have any shining. But the gospel they preach, the gospel of glory, is full of shining. This glory is God Himself, God embodied in the gospel they preach. Therefore, the gospel preached by the ministers of the new covenant is not a theory, a philosophy, or a mere doctrine. It is the embodiment of the God of glory. This gospel cannot be carried out simply through preaching. There must be shining.
The ministers who carry out this gospel of glory are luminaries; that is, they are shining ones. As luminaries, they themselves do not have light, but they have the ability to reflect light that comes from another source, just as the moon reflects the light of the sun.
The gospel can be compared to Christ shining forth as the sun, the God of glory embodied in His redemptive work. We all need to understand the gospel in this way. Do not regard the gospel as a philosophy or a teaching. No, the gospel is the embodiment of the very God of glory. This gospel needs many shining ones, many luminaries, to reflect its light. Reflecting the light of the gospel of glory is the living of all the ministers of the new covenant. This reflection is the conduct of the apostles.
In verse 4 Paul uses the word illumination. Deep in his spirit, Paul considered himself and his co-workers luminaries. Today we also need to be such luminaries reflecting the glory of the gospel of Christ. The goal, the aim, and the purpose of the living of the New Testament ministers is to shine in this way. The goal of Paul’s conduct was to shine out the gospel. He and his co-workers, ministers of the new covenant, conducted themselves for the shining of the gospel of the glory of Christ.
In 4:1 Paul says, “Therefore, having this ministry, as we received mercy we do not lose heart.” In 3:12-18 the apostle depicts how the ministers of the new covenant are constituted. In this chapter, he goes on to tell, from verse 1 through 6, how they as the ministers of the new covenant conduct themselves for the carrying out of their ministry, and, from verse 7 through 18, what kind of life they live.
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