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Treasure in Clay Jars

Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.(A) We have renounced the shameful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.(B) And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.(C) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing clearly the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.(D) For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’s sake.(E) For it is the God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.(F)

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.(G) We are afflicted in every way but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed, 10 always carrying around in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.(H) 11 For we who are living are always being handed over to death for Jesus’s sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us but life in you.

13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and therefore we also speak,(I) 14 because we know that the one who raised Jesus[a] will also raise us with Jesus and will present us with you in his presence.(J) 15 Indeed, everything is for your sake, so that grace, when it has extended to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Living by Faith

16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.(K) 17 For our slight, momentary affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure,(L) 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen, for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.(M)

For we know that, if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.(N) For in this tent we groan, longing to be further clothed with our heavenly dwelling, for surely when we have been clothed in it[b] we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan under our burden because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.(O) The one who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a down payment.(P)

So we are always confident, even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight.(Q) Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to him. 10 For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive due recompense for actions done in the body, whether good or evil.(R)

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people, but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences.(S) 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart.(T) 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.(U) 14 For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.(V) 15 And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for the one who for their sake died and was raised.

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view;[c] even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view,[d] we no longer know him in that way.(W) 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there[e] is a new creation: everything old has passed away; look, new things have come into being![f](X) 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;(Y) 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,[g] not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.(Z) 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled to God.(AA) 21 For our sake God made the one who knew no sin to be sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.(AB)

As we work together with him,[h] we entreat you also not to accept the grace of God in vain.(AC) For he says,

“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
    and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Look, now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation!(AD)


  1. 4.14 Other ancient authorities read Lord Jesus
  2. 5.3 Other ancient authorities read taken it off
  3. 5.16 Gk according to the flesh
  4. 5.16 Gk according to the flesh
  5. 5.17 Or that person
  6. 5.17 Other ancient authorities read everything has become new
  7. 5.19 Or God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself
  8. 6.1 Gk As we work together