Journal 2 Cor 4 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.
But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s Word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the Glory of Christ (who is the image of God).
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Cor 4:1-6
Observation: Is the Gospel attractive? I suppose that Paul refers to the temptation to make the Gospel narrative somehow more than what it is to decrease the possibility of “veiling” and to attract converts.
Analysis: What are the components of the Gospel? There are many but could probably be narrowed down to this:
- All mankind has been judged by God and found guilty of not meeting the measure of His Holiness. Wrath, not Love or Mercy, is the character of God to be met at this level.
- The Triune God planned for the Son to be the Propitiation for Man, atoning for Man’s Sin before God. God initiated this plan for no other reason than He wanted to, as a demonstration of His Love to His Creation, Man.
- Man, through the rebellion and treason of Adam, passively and actively resists God, choosing an attempt to serve God on his own terms in some way, even to the point of rejecting God completely and succumbing to man’s heart.
- There will be two categories of Man: Chosen and not-chosen. Since Man cannot, will not, come to surrender to God because of his willfully traitorous heart, God’s mercy will still find and make a way for individuals to surrender to the irresistible Will of God.
These are important, if not essential points of the Gospel.
However, Paul is addressing the Corinth church of using “…disgraceful, underhanded ways…” and of practicing “…cunning or to tamper with God’s Word…”
Is that what believers at Corinth did? Did they cherry pick subjects towards potential converts that will “seal the deal?” Is that what I do? Even if I did take such a path, do I eventually get around to declaring the whole Gospel?
Not everyone gets “saved.” While the scriptures plainly say, God “…desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth…” (1 Tim 2:4), He also says, “For many are called, but few are chosen…” (Matt 22:14; cf. Ro 9)
I think that it is clear the Gospel must be preached, and that fully. To not do so is like a salesman waving away the yucky parts of a contract to get someone to sign on the bottom line.
The subject matter is so difficult; we go where we THINK the Spirit is leading us. To get there (preaching the Gospel) takes not only courage and fearlessness, but also a determination to learn further of the Gospel every day. No believer has the Gospel in full knowledge—it takes a lifetime to learn and only on that Day will we understand the Gospel in whole.
Ricky Two Shoes