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Spiritual Treasure in Clay Jars

4 1God, with his mercy, gave us this work to do. So we don't give up. 2But we have turned away from secret and shameful ways. We don't use trickery, and we don't change the teaching of God. No! We teach the truth plainly. This is how we show people who we are. And this is how they can know in their hearts what kind of people we are before God. 3The Good News* that we tell people may be hidden. But it is hidden only to those people who are lost. 4The ruler* of this world (the devil) has blinded the minds of people who don't believe. They cannot see the light (truth) of the Good News--the Good News about the glory of Christ. Christ is the One who is exactly like God. 5We don't tell people about ourselves. But we tell people that Jesus Christ is Lord; and we tell people that we are your servants for Jesus. 6God once said, "The light will shine out of the darkness!" And this is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts. He gave us light by letting us know the glory of God that is in the face of Christ. 7We have this treasure [from God]. But we are only like clay jars that hold the treasure. This shows that this great power is from God, not from us. 8We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We often don't know what to do, but we don't give up. 9We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed. 10We have the death of Jesus in our own bodies. We carry this death so that the life of Jesus can also be seen in our bodies (lives). 11We are alive, but for Jesus we are always in danger of death. This happens to us so that the life of Jesus can be seen in our bodies that die. 12So death is working in us, but life is working in you. 13It is written [in the Scriptures*], "I believed, so I spoke."* Our faith is like that too. We believe, and so we speak. 14God raised the Lord Jesus from death. And we know that God will also raise us with Jesus. God will bring us together with you, and we will stand before him. 15All these things are for you. And so the grace (kindness) of God is being given to more and more people. This will bring more and more thanks to God for his glory.

Living by Faith

16That is why we never become weak. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. 17We have small troubles for a while now, but those troubles are helping us gain an eternal glory. That eternal glory is much greater than the troubles. 18So we think about the things we cannot see, not what we see. The things we see continue only a short time. And the things we cannot see will continue forever.

Good News The news that God has made a way for people to have their sins forgiven and live with him forever. The ruler Literally, "The god." Scriptures Holy Writings--the Old Testament. "I believed ... spoke" Quote from Ps. 116:10.

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