These chapters are all about change. We “beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (3:17,18). The Corinthians, like us, had so much baggage, sinful baggage, but they had been changed, and they were being changed, so much that, one day, they would perfectly reflect the glory of Christ! That’s something to look forward to!
Paul then writes about having a “treasure in jars of clay” (4:7). He acknowledges our afflictions, our perplexities, our despair, our persecution, and that we are often struck down. That’s not to say that our lives are lived in constant crisis but that we are frail vessels of the gospel in a hostile world. But “we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as 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” (4:16-18). As I get older, I sense Paul’s counsel, here, more and more deeply. Christ in us, getting us ready for eternity!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free,
rolling as a mighty ocean
in its fullness over me.
Underneath me, all around me,
is the current of thy love;
leading onward, leading homeward,
to thy glorious rest above. -- S. Trevor Francis (1890)