In 2 Corinthians 4:1-6, Paul follows up his defense of the ministry God had given him with a presentation of his credentials to be an apostle. As transformed Corinthian believers, he explains that ministry is not easy. In verse 1 (NKJV), he states that he and his ministry partners “have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” Paul did not shrink away from the constant attacks Satan brought against his ministry for God. He did not lose heart, because the task of sharing the new covenant in Christ was too important.
In verse 2, Paul says that they “have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways, and they refused to practice cunning and tamper with the Word of God.” Paul had been accused of being a hypocrite, and he was saying that when he put his faith in Christ, he repented of such sins and turned away from them, devoting his life to the pursuit of godliness.
Paul then said that the Gospel he preached was given to him by the Lord, and he had not tampered with it or twisted it to profit from it, as his accusers charged. In verse 3, he says that if some do not understand his message (if our Gospel is veiled), it is because they refuse to hear and consider it (it is veiled from those who are perishing). He could only give out the message of salvation. He could not force people to accept it. Those with hardened hearts will not listen to or receive the truth of God.
We need to realize that Satan is alive and active in this world. In 1 Peter 5:8, it says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” There is a small church I pass each Sunday on the way to the River. The sign in front of the church a few months ago read, “Pray without ceasing, because the devil preys without ceasing.” When we seek to minister and share God’s Word, we need to bathe it in prayer because Satan will use anything and everything he can to try and prevent people from hearing God’s truth and responding to it.
This was the battle Paul fought in the power of the Holy Spirit. He did not give up because the truth of God’s grace was too important. Whether he saw results or not, he faithfully shared God’s Word. He left the result up to God’s Holy Spirit.
We need to follow Paul’s example of faithfully sharing what God has given us. We should do so in a humble manner, always pointing to Christ, and never giving up. When we do, we will surely see the results as Paul did. God will give those who are open to His Word the light of knowledge to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Paul was simply a messenger sent from God, who trusted in God’s Spirit to do the work in the hearts of those to whom he ministered. That is our task. We need to do it faithfully without losing heart. To God, be the glory.