For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:5-6
We do not preach ourselves. We commend ourselves, but we do not preach ourselves. What’s the difference? To commend ourselves is to suggest you get to know us. To be in relationship with us. To walk alongside us and test what we say and how we live. To come and see Christ in us, and in spite of us, as we go along.
To preach ourselves is to try to make us famous. That’s not what we do. We are here to make Christ famous, that’s why we preach Him as Lord and us as mere servants — your servants, as a matter of fact. We are here to serve you and to bring Christ to you, although we are not always conscious of doing that. We bring Christ to you by way of the fact that He is in us, so that when we introduce ourselves to you, we are also introducing you to Christ.
We preach Christ as Lord of all —every part of life, every aspect of culture, every sector of society, all nations, all thrones, all kingdoms, all worlds — Christ is Lord of all. And wonder of all wonders, this very Christ who is over all, is also in us. He has taken up residence in our lives. That’s why we commend ourselves to others because if they come to know us, they will come to know Christ. He is the One who has shone in our hearts to bring “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” That’s a mouthful. It’s also a mystery. Do we know what this light even looks like? I don’t think so; we only know we have it, and because of that we can be confident we are making a difference in the world simply by being in it.
That’s one more thing that we are that we don’t know is there. First, a fragrance, then a letter, and now a light. Jesus told us we were the light of the world. Paul is just revealing a deeper aspect of that light. It is “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” Of course. I knew that; didn’t you? How can we possibly fathom all this? We can’t. We can only believe it and move on.
Finally, Paul wants us to know how that mysterious light got here. It’s a miracle, no less miraculous than when God first spoke light into the world. It’s a part of the creation story. “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” (Genesis 1:2-3)
Do you realize the incredible miracle of speaking light into existence? Light where there was no light? No sun, no moon, no stars, no light switch, no wires, no plugs? Just void and darkness. That’s you and me before the miracle. And then the Holy Spirit moved over our hearts, and God said, “‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”
The Holy Spirit is still moving over the surface of the world. There are people in darkness over whom God will speak the light. The miracle happens every day. Be on the lookout; it can happen through you.
The 21 Day Challenge
— Day Sixteen —
The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ
2 Corinthians 4:5-6
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
For Your Consideration
- Who is the focus on? Who is the focus not on?
- Given we do not preach ourselves, why do we often notice ourselves and others enjoying praise and attention? Are any of us capable of saving anyone?
- Who are we accountable to? Why?
- Do we or do we not play a critical supporting role? Or are we simply bystanders?
Paul is saying it is God’s business to bring his people to Himself. We are the assistants, and all too often, the bystanders. Nevertheless, he has called all to care for the weak, the hurting and the abused, whether they are or are not part of the body of believers. We do not know whether they will or will not come to Christ, and we do not know when they will or will not. Thus, the issue of serving the “family” which is men, women, and children, is to treat them with the dignity and respect due an ongoing creation of God. Their final choices are not for anyone to judge, but to walk alongside. Offering such an environment to anyone in a vulnerable or confusing moment in their lives can change lives and hearts, because acts of love are taking place, not simply words. We are compelled by His love and promotion of His glory. It is the desire of our hearts.
- For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
The moment a person sees that Jesus is Lord, God’s creative power begins to kick in. His life and light comes into his darkness; the veil is removed. “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts ……. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
He takes us back to creation, when the whole world lay in darkness. Nobody could do anything about it except God, who said, “Let there be light,” (Genesis 1:3). Suddenly, out of the darkness, light sprang up in obedience to the creative word of the living God.
That is what Paul says must happen before any man or woman ever becomes a Christian. God has to say again that creative word, “Let light shine out of darkness.“ When he does, the darkness disappears; the light shines into the heart.
For your consideration
- Imagine chatting with your next door neighbor who begins to open up about her life, which was not going very well. What do you do?
- Where do you find the light of the glory of God?
- And where do you find the face of Jesus?
- Does the light come shining through all at once?
- Can there be shades of light the closer we come to the face of Christ ?
- Can Christians live in darkness? As we have discovered when facing into our veils, yes – we can (and many do) live in darkness behind the veils of our making
- What does a Christian do if he finds himself under the veils of self righteousness, superiority, sarcasm for others not like him, etc.?
No one need walk in darkness when we can look at the “face of Christ,” for there is “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” for all of us – you, me and any one, any where.
God is the only one to bring people to Himself.
Consider for a moment
- What would change if we were constantly aware that God desires that “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” should shine through us so that it can be observed by whomever He has brought into our life at that moment?
Don’t miss today’s video for more comments and teaching from John & Marti.