4 Therefore, since we have this ministry, just as God has shown us mercy, 1 we do not become discouraged. 2 2 But we have rejected 3 shameful hidden deeds, 4 not behaving 5 with deceptiveness 6 or distorting the word of God, but by open proclamation of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience before God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, 4 among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe 7 so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel 8 of Christ, 9 who is the image of God. 5 For we do not proclaim 10 ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves 11 for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” 12 is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge 13 of God in the face of Christ. 14
7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power 15 belongs to God and does not come from us. 8 We are experiencing trouble on every side, 16 but are not crushed; we are perplexed, 17 but not driven to despair; 9 we are persecuted, but not abandoned; 18 we are knocked down, 19 but not destroyed, 10 always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, 20 so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible 21 in our body. 11 For we who are alive are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible 22 in our mortal body. 23 12 As a result, 24 death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 25 13 But since we have the same spirit of faith as that shown in 26 what has been written, “I believed; therefore I spoke,” 27 we also believe, therefore we also speak. 14 We do so 28 because we know that the one who raised up Jesus 29 will also raise us up with Jesus and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 For all these things are for your sake, so that the grace that is including 30 more and more people may cause thanksgiving to increase 31 to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not despair, 32 but even if our physical body 33 is wearing away, our inner person 34 is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary, light suffering 35 is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison 18 because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
5 For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in, 1 is dismantled, 2 we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this earthly house 3 we groan, because we desire to put on 4 our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed, after we have put on 5 our heavenly house, 6 we will not be found naked. 4 For we groan while we are in this tent, 7 since we are weighed down, 8 because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose 9 is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. 10 6 Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth 11 we are absent from the Lord – 7 for we live 12 by faith, not by sight. 8 Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away 13 from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So then whether we are alive 14 or away, we make it our ambition to please him. 15 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, 16 so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil. 17
11 Therefore, because we know the fear of the Lord, 18 we try to persuade 19 people, 20 but we are well known 21 to God, and I hope we are well known to your consciences too. 12 We are not trying to commend 22 ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to be proud of us, 23 so that you may be able to answer those who take pride 24 in outward appearance 25 and not in what is in the heart. 13 For if we are out of our minds, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ 26 controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ 27 died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. 28 16 So then from now on we acknowledge 29 no one from an outward human point of view. 30 Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, 31 now we do not know him in that way any longer. 17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away 32 – look, what is new 33 has come! 34 18 And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us 35 the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea 36 through us. We plead with you 37 on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” 21 God 38 made the one who did not know sin 39 to be sin for us, so that in him 40 we would become the righteousness of God.