1. The glory of God in Christ (4:1-6). Having spoken of the greater glory already (C-3), Paul speaks of his mission, which is two-fold (as he makes his point). First, Paul decided to rid himself of those things in this world that hinder a relationship with God; second, he preaches the message that changed his life. Satan is a mighty powerful foe, and his influence on people is overwhelming (cf. Ephesians 6:10ff); as darkness reigns in the lives of people “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” shines “in the face of Jesus Christ” (NKJV).
2. Treasure in earthen vessels (4:7-15). Paul was disappointed that some in Corinth might look upon him and his mission in a way that corresponded to those who were not in Christ. As a matter of fact, Paul was pressured from all sides, but he and his associates pressed on. They did this because they knew what it was they believed and they knew from whom they received what it was they believed. This is very helpful to us, for when we sing the line, “I know whom I have believed…”, it should not only reflect the heart, but the life also.
3. A light affliction (4:16-18). Treasures in earthen vessels are times of both joy and anguish. But when one has a joy that is “out of this world,” it makes the anguish a little easier to bear; one’s look at life on this earth is as one of sojourning; they are pilgrims in search of a city, a city of gold.