Last Sunday, I was doing the next bit in our current little series on 2 Corinthians, and had the wonderful, and yet far too familiar (for many) passage of 2 Cor 4:16-5:10. It’s one of Paul’s great articulations of genuine, realistic Christian experience in a crazy and sometimes hostile world.
But the challenge to my mind was to capture the sense of internal debate that Paul has in his own head. He clearly wasn’t one to meander through life – and he certainly wasn’t one to deny reality. What is so instructive and pastoral about this section is the way we get to listen into his mental processes a little. And it seems to me that it is primarily a see-saw between present reality and future hope – which shifts into a distinction between living by what we can see with the eyes of the body alone, and living by what we can see with the eyes of faith in Christ. The key is that it is not wishful thinking because of Christ.
So here is my stab at an overview of the section. It’s not perfect at all – but helps (I hope) to illustrate the see-saw between the now and not yet.
- Living by Sight: WE’RE WASTING AND TROUBLED; Living by Faith: WE’RE RENEWED (4:16-18)
- Living by Sight: we inhabit A TEMPORARY TENT; Living by Faith: we will be clothed in AN ETERNAL HOUSE (5:1-5)
- Living by Sight: we are HOME IN THE BODY; Living by Faith: we will be HOME WITH THE LORD (5:6-10)