So 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. —2 Corinthians 4:16-18
We must understand that the trials we face — what Paul calls “this light momentary affliction” — are nothing compared to the glory that God has in store for us. In fact, that affliction prepares us and perfects us, and should bring joy and encouragement to our lives.
Sermon Overview: Momentary Affliction
So we do not lose heart
Earlier in the chapter, the Apostle Paul identified ministry as a the reason for not losing heart. But in this passage, Paul’s focus is on another reason not to lose heart: we are being prepared for glory. When he says, “do not lose heart,” he is saying, “do not despair.”
our outer self is wasting away
Our outer self refers to more than just our physical bodies. It refers to the things of this life. They were corrupted by the fall and are wasting away.
our inner self is being renewed
The inner man is the heart. As a believer, when you were redeemed, you received a new heart, ordered and complaint with God. In addition to receiving such a heart, your heart is also now becoming ordered and compliant with God. And ultimately your heart will be perfectly ordered and compliant with God. You are and are becoming a God-lover, a God-server, and a God-dependent.
light momentary affliction
Paul understood suffering (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). He know what it was to endure affliction in this life. But he says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” —Romans 8:18
an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison
What is in store for us who belong to Christ is indescribable. It is the pearl of great price — no cost is too great. Ephesians 1 tells us of the riches we possess in Christ today, and heaven far exceeds that.
Paul saw a glimpse of heaven “and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” (2 Corinthians 12:4)
affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory
Creation is in the process of being redeemed.
- God’s creation was perfect (Genesis 1).
- All of creation was corrupted when Adam fell. (Romans 8:21)
- This corrupted creation will be destroyed. (2 Peter 3:10)
- It will be replaced by a new incorrupt creation. (2 Peter 3:13)
- Jesus is the firstfruits of the new creation. (1 Corinthians 15:20)
“If he’s not sanctifying you on earth then don’t expect him to glorify you in heaven.” —Paul Washer
The process has already begun:
- If you are in Christ, you are being transformed (sanctified)
- The process will be complete when you are glorified
- Through this affliction you are learning to die
- Through this death you are being prepared for heaven
the things that are unseen are eternal
But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”
—1 Corinthians 2:9