Online Bible Commentary
An Eternal Perspective
2 Corinthians 4:13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (NKJV)
On his third missionary journey, after ministering in Ephesus for two years and three months, the Apostle Paul left for Macedonia in May, A.D. 56. Paul was in Macedonia from June to November of A.D. 56. It was there that he wrote the letter of 2nd Corinthians, likely in September and October of A.D. 56.
Are you weary from dealing with the problems of life? Maybe you just need a new perspective. It has been said: “Perspective is everything”. The right perspective can totally change how we look at things. It can turn a bad day into a good day, or a bad life into a good life.
In this passage Paul, in the midst of persecution, writes of the proper perspective we should have. He is writing to the church at Corinth, so these words are for Christians.
Paul wants us to remember that, as believers, we have a faith that we will be raised from the dead just as Jesus, and we will join Him in Heaven some day (vv. 13-14). We have a wonderful future awaiting us.
Since we have received this greatest gift of all, eternal life by God’s grace, we should spend our days here praising, thanking and glorifying God in all that we do and say (v. 15). With this as our basis, we should never “lose heart” (v. 16a).
We should never let our troubles wear us down because even though “our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (v. 16b). Even though our bodies are wasting away a little each day, our spirit is being renewed each day by the Holy Spirit living within us.
Through His grace, God is giving us the strength to handle our troubles. Paul says our troubles are “light… and for a moment” (v. 17a). At the time we are going through our troubles they may seem anything but light, and for a moment. If we have the wrong perspective we can let our troubles bog us down. We may lose our joy and peace. We may let our troubles separate us from God.
In comparison to the eternal glory that awaits us, these earthly troubles are nothing. Although it may seem to us that we will never get rid of our troubles, they will last a very short time compared to the eternity we will spend in Heaven. And the glory we receive in Heaven will far outweigh any troubles we may have on this earth (v. 17b).
Therefore, we should focus, not on what we see, but on what we don’t see (v. 18a). What we see are our circumstances and our troubles. What we don’t see is God and Heaven and our glory to come. We should have an eternal perspective because what we see is temporary. It will soon go away. This too shall pass. But what we don’t see is far more valuable. It will last forever (v. 18b).
So it is all about perspective. A bad perspective can be defeating. A good perspective can make us soar like eagles. God wants us to soar like eagles. He wants us to have an eternal perspective.