In this passage, Paul is going to remind the church of Corinth in 2 Corinthians to not lose eternal perspective in the midst of everything they are going through. But what does it mean to have an eternal perspective?
Anytime you watch a football game, there will more than likely be questionable calls made by the referees that could ultimately decide the direction of the game. Did the receiver get both feet inbounds? Did the center snap the ball in time? Did the running back have his knee down before he lost control of the ball? The referees go to the replay booth to watch the game from different perspectives to ensure the right call is made. All people, including Christians, can have a tough time looking at what is right in front of their face which leads them to lose the larger perspective.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
Paul had every reason to lose heart. He was beaten, mocked, shipwrecked, and brought to the point of death all for the cross of Christ. He could have endured any one of those moments and lost his eternal perspective. Paul points to the truth that although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
We are more like Christ now than we were twelve hours ago. You are more like Christ now than when you first started reading this. Understanding sanctification is important for believers to rightly interpret what happens in our life from the perspective that it is transforming us to look more like Christ.
Change of Perspective
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison – 2 Corinthians 4:17
Paul calls what he is going through “light momentary affliction.” Now to understand this more, we have to think of time as a rope. If eternity was compared to a one-hundred-foot rope, our lives would take up the space of less than a hundredth of an inch of that rope. We would not be able to see it on the rope, and the point is that eternity is a long time compared to our life on earth.
That logic would then tell us that we do not need to be so concerned as to what happens in this life compared to what happens in eternity. This may lead us to ask, “How does that apply to me in my context today?”
Everything in your life must be put in the perspective of eternity. The election chaos that has happened lately is “light momentary affliction” compared to eternity. The current trials you are facing in your life today are “light momentary affliction” compared to eternity. The affliction you face today Paul would say is “preparing for you an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
Be encouraged in this truth that what you face today is minuscule compared to eternity. This is not to say that the problems you face are small. But you can learn to look at them with the perspective of eternity.
Hope for the Future
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 4:18
Paul had hope. He knew that every day he was being made more like Christ. He knew every situation he was in was to be viewed in light of eternity. He looked to what he could not see, and he did not look at what he could see. Christians today look in faith to that which they cannot see. We have not seen God, but we look to him in faith knowing He is real and that He desires a relationship with us. We did not see creation, but we believe by faith in what His Word says that God made everything. There is hope for us as believers today who have submitted to the Lordship of Jesus that we are being prepared for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
In what ways do you need to shift your vision to have an eternal perspective?