4 We don’t become discouraged, since God has given us this ministry through his mercy. 2 Instead, we have refused to use secret and shameful ways. We don’t use tricks, and we don’t distort God’s word. As God watches, we clearly reveal the truth to everyone. This is our letter of recommendation.
3 So if the Good News that we tell others is covered with a veil, it is hidden from those who are dying. 4 The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. As a result, they don’t see the light of the Good News about Christ’s glory. It is Christ who is God’s image.
5 Our message is not about ourselves. It is about Jesus Christ as the Lord. We are your servants for his sake. 6 We are his servants because the same God who said that light should shine out of darkness has given us light. For that reason we bring to light the knowledge about God’s glory which shines from Christ’s face.
7 Our bodies are made of clay, yet we have the treasure of the Good News in them. This shows that the superior power of this treasure belongs to God and doesn’t come from us. 8 In every way we’re troubled, but we aren’t crushed by our troubles. We’re frustrated, but we don’t give up. 9 We’re persecuted, but we’re not abandoned. We’re captured, but we’re not killed. 10 We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our bodies. 11 While we are alive, we are constantly handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our mortal nature. 12 Death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 The following is written, “I believed; therefore, I spoke.” We have that same spirit of faith. We also believe; therefore, we also speak. 14 We know that the one who brought the Lord Jesus back to life will also bring us back to life through Jesus. He will present us to God together with you.
15 All this is for your sake so that, as God’s kindness[a] overflows in the lives of many people, it will produce even more thanksgiving to the glory of God. 16 That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day. 17 Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine. 18 We don’t look for things that can be seen but for things that can’t be seen. Things that can be seen are only temporary. But things that can’t be seen last forever.
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