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This Light Momentary Affliction – Pastor/Elder Brian Gates

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“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.

It becomes clear to all who have lived more than a handful of years that our present physical bodies won’t endure without suffering the effects of a fallen world. But what a promise of hope those who know Jesus Christ are given in this passage! There is a future that, though unseen in this present, will one day be seen when we come into His presence and behold His glory. And it is a glory beyond all comparison, beyond all our wildest imagining.

Notice that their affliction is described as light compared to the weight of glory. Momentary is contrasted to the eternal. We are to be encouraged, for it is that very affliction that is helping to prepare us and sanctify us to one day enter His presence in Heaven.

The apostle Paul reminds us a few verses after the passage above that “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Indeed, our sight and other senses are our God-given means of perceiving the world around us and are used by the Holy Spirit to reveal to us knowledge of Himself. For example, faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17), or we read (seeing) the Word. And through Christ our eyes have been opened to see spiritual things. Even so, we must walk by faith because we cannot yet fully see the eternal.

Paul gives us a helpful picture when he says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” 1 Corinthians 13:12. Mirrors in the First Century A.D. were not like the pristine coated glass mirrors of today. They would have been made of things like polished metals or perhaps crude glass materials. They would not be very reflective, and the images would be distorted, lacking detail. It would certainly be better than no mirror at all, but far from ideal.

That will change for us when we have (borrowing from Shakespeare) “shuffled off this mortal coil” and we stand– or, more likely, fall– before our King in Glory. We shall no longer know in part; we shall see fully. No longer will sin and our physical bodies cloud our senses. We will behold Jesus in His majesty, beauty, and splendor.

Though we now only know in part, we are yet fully known by Christ. May we be ever reminded of the work God is doing this day and every day in those that trust in Jesus- we are renewed day by day. Rest in the hope that this light momentary affliction is preparing for us that eternal weight of glory.


Brian Gates


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