The Veiled Gospel
It is very easy for the Christian to become discouraged, especially the one who is actively trying to live for Christ and the advancement of Christ’s kingdom.
That Christian truly wants to see lost people come to salvation in Christ. That Christian sacrifices his time, his money, and his talents in an all out effort to build his local church. Have you ever grown tired and discouraged because it seems that your efforts come to naught? I have. Have you ever arrived at the place where you have trouble finding the energy to continue in your efforts to minister in the name of Christ because you can see no results? I have and I suspect that you have also. It can get worse. You can lose your place of ministry. When the very opportunity to minister is gone, the discouragement gets even worse. In fact, it can be downright depressing.
It is very easy to take our place of ministry for granted; we may even get so discouraged that we come to despise our place of service. However, we should be thankful that we have a place to minister. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 addresses this problem, “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 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.” NASU
Paul says in verse one and also later in verse sixteen not that we should not lose heart but rather that we simply do not. That is a little bit convicting for me because sometimes I come close to losing heart. I hope you noticed in verse one the reason for not losing heart. We do not lose heart because the ministry itself is a gift of mercy from God. Having a place of ministry and service in God’s economy is a privilege. We must never forget that. Our ministry should be a source of encouragement and joy to us and to those we minister to.
If we do not lose heart, verse two indicates that we will be commending ourselves to every man’s conscience. That is a powerful truth. The very fact that we remain faithful is a testimony to believers and unbelievers alike. Verse three seems to say that our losing heart contributes in some way to the gospel being veiled to those who are perishing. That is a sobering thought. If we remain enthused and encouraged and joyful, others will notice and be drawn to us so that we can share the good news about forgiveness of sin found in the person of Christ. Our lack of enthusiasm and demonstrated discouragement is surely a veil to the gospel that ought to be shining forth from inside us. It is a certainty that something is shining forth from every one of us. What is it that is shining forth from you?
Pastor Steve Ellison is Camp Administrator at Ouachita Baptist Assembly near Mena and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Special thanks to the Mena Star for sending Pastor Ellison's columns to First Arkansas News.