The Light of the Gospel
4 Therefore, having xthis ministry yby the mercy of God,1 we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced zdisgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice2 cunning or ato tamper with God’s word, but bby the open statement of the truth cwe would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even dif our gospel is veiled, eit is veiled to fthose who are perishing. 4 In their case gthe god of this world dhas blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing hthe light of ithe gospel of the glory of Christ, jwho is the image of God. 5 For what kwe proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with lourselves as your servants3 for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, m“Let light shine out of darkness,” nhas shone in our hearts to give othe light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Treasure in Jars of Clay
7 But we have this treasure in pjars of clay, qto show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are rafflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but snot forsaken; tstruck down, but not destroyed; 10 ualways carrying in the body the death of Jesus, vso that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So wdeath is at work in us, but life in you.
13 Since we have xthe same spirit of faith according to what has been written, y“I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that zhe who raised the Lord Jesus awill raise us also with Jesus and bbring us with you into his presence. 15 For cit is all for your sake, so that as dgrace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, eto the glory of God.
16 So we do not lose heart. fThough our outer self4 is wasting away, gour inner self his being renewed day by day. 17 For ithis light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 jas we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Our Heavenly Dwelling
5 For we know that if kthe tent that is lour earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, ma house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent nwe groan, longing to oput on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on5 we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal pmay be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, qwho has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that rwhile we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for swe walk by faith, not tby sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we uwould rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to vplease him. 10 For wwe must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, xso that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
The Ministry of Reconciliation
11 Therefore, knowing ythe fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But zwhat we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 aWe are not commending ourselves to you again but bgiving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we care beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ dcontrols us, because we have concluded this: that eone has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, fthat those who live might no longer live for themselves but gfor him who for their sake died and was raised.
16 From now on, therefore, hwe regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is iin Christ, he is ja new creation.6 kThe old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, lwho through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us mthe ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling7 the world to himself, nnot counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us mthe message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, owe are ambassadors for Christ, pGod making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 qFor our sake he made him to be sin rwho knew no sin, so that in him we might become sthe righteousness of God.
w“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, xnow is the yfavorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We zput no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but aas servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: bby great endurance, cin afflictions, dhardships, calamities, 5 ebeatings, imprisonments, friots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 gby purity, hknowledge, patience, kindness, ithe Holy Spirit, jgenuine love; 7 by ktruthful speech, and lthe power of God; with mthe weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honor and dishonor, nthrough slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and oyet well known; pas dying, and behold, we live; qas punished, and yet not killed; 10 ras sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; sas poor, yet making many rich; tas having nothing, uyet possessing everything.
11 We have spoken freely to you,8 Corinthians; vour heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but wyou are restricted in your own affections. 13 xIn return (I speak yas to children) widen your hearts also.
The Temple of the Living God
14 zDo not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For awhat partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or bwhat fellowship has light with darkness? 15 cWhat accord has Christ with Belial?9 Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For dwe are the temple of the living God; as God said,
and gI will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore hgo out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
18 iand I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
O Lord My God, You Are Very Great
104 lBless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are mvery great!
nYou are clothed with splendor and majesty,
2 covering yourself with light as with a garment,
he makes sthe clouds his chariot;
he rides on tthe wings of the wind;
4 he umakes his messengers winds,
5 He xset the earth on its foundations,
so that it should never be moved.
6 You ycovered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
7 At zyour rebuke they fled;
8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
to the place that you cappointed for them.
9 You set da boundary that they may not pass,
so that they emight not again cover the earth.
10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills;
11 they fgive drink to every beast of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
they sing among the branches.
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
14 You cause ithe grass to grow for the livestock
and jplants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth kfood from the earth
15 and lwine to gladden the heart of man,
moil to make his face shine
and bread to nstrengthen man’s heart.
16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
17 In them the birds build their nests;
the stork has her home in the fir trees.
18 The high mountains are for qthe wild goats;
the rocks are a refuge for rthe rock badgers.
the sun knows its time for setting.
20 tYou make darkness, and it is night,
when all the beasts of the forest creep about.
21 uThe young lions roar for their prey,
seeking their food from God.
22 When the sun rises, they steal away
and lie down in their vdens.
23 wMan goes out to his work
and to his labor until the evening.
24 O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In xwisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the sea, great and wide,
ywhich teems with creatures innumerable,
living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
27 These ball look to you,
to cgive them their food in due season.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you dopen your hand, they are filled with good things.
when you gtake away their breath, they die
and hreturn to their dust.
and you jrenew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord kendure forever;
may the Lord lrejoice in his works,
32 who looks on the earth and it mtrembles,
who ntouches the mountains and they smoke!
33 I will sing to the Lord oas long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my pmeditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let qsinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more!
rBless the Lord, O my soul!
sPraise the Lord!