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Glory That Lasts

 

By Laurie Mathers

Paul wasn’t like the celebrity preachers the Corinthians were welcoming into their churches. He didn’t carry letters of recommendation boasting of his prominence. He wasn’t famous for his flamboyant preaching. Also unlike them, he had “renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways” and refused “to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word” (2 Cor 4.2).

 
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The Corinthians were prone to confusing price with value, arrogance with greatness, impressive vocabulary with true wisdom, charm with love. This made them easy prey for false apostles, “peddlers of God’s word,” who saw preaching as a way to promote their own wealth and status. These peddlers abused Paul’s converts spiritually, financially, possibly even physically, and the church welcomed it (2 Cor 11.20).

Paul, on the other hand, like an ordinary clay pot holding the world’s greatest treasure, came  to Corinth humble, weak, covered with scars. He arrived without pomp but carried in his heart and in his message “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 

Unlike the false teachers and their followers, who cared about the “outward appearance and not about what is in the heart”(2 Cor 5.11), Paul “behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God” (2 Cor 1.12).

Paul was able to live this way because he was “looking 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.” (2 Cor 4.18).

“All flesh is grass,

    and all its beauty is like the flower of the field…

The grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God will stand forever.”

– Isaiah 40.6b, 8

Paul banked his whole life on the one thing he knew would last, and this is the truth that has been delivered to us in the scriptures. In them, we, too, “with unveiled face, 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.” (2 Cor 3.18).