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What are the unseen things talked about here? Are they things like peace, patience, love, joy, and so on?


2 Corinthians 4:18

NASB - 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Clarify Share Report Asked August 02 2015 Mini Chad Hamilton

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Those who receive the salvation and redemption that God offers in Christ are then enabled (by the presence of God the Holy Spirit dwelling within them as a result of that salvation) to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit that the questioner mentions (love, patience, peace, joy, and so forth) -- and that Paul discusses in Galatians 5:22-23 -- in their lives as Christians.

However, in the verse from 2 Corinthians 4 that is being asked about, Paul is not referring to the benefits that Christians receive in this life. Rather, he is drawing a contrast between the visible difficulties endured in this life by those seeking to spread the gospel, and the currently unseen rewards that await those evangelists (as well as all those whom those evangelists have converted to Christ through their preaching and witnessing) in eternity in God's presence. 

Earlier in this fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul describes the problems experienced by those who are seeking to spread the message of the gospel and to convert others to Christ.

He says (verses 3-4) that the understanding of those hearing the message of salvation is being blinded by "the god of this age" (that is, Satan, along with the world system that Satan represents or controls), and by the fleshly natures and desires of those who have not yet accepted Jesus as their Lord.

Also (as described in verses 7-12), those preaching the gospel are hindered by the weakness of their own physical bodies (which Paul compares to fragile jars of clay), although this is also an advantage in a way, since it shows that any success the preachers have occurs as a result of the working of the Holy Spirit and the power of the gospel message, rather than through the eloquence or charisma of the preachers themselves.

And, in addition to their own personal weakness, those preaching the gospel are beset by external difficulties and persecution from opponents of their message.

Nevertheless, despite these obstacles, God has remained faithful to those evangelists, and has not allowed them to be crushed, driven to despair, or destroyed, in order that they may continue giving the gift of eternal life to others through their preaching.

And, aside from receiving assistance and protection from God in this life, the preachers also have God's assurance that they will be raised from the dead (along with those whom they have won for Christ) when Jesus comes again, to live with Him (verse 14), and to experience "eternal glory", in comparison to which any difficulties or troubles being endured by those spreading the gospel in this life are "light and momentary" (verse 17). 

Having discussed all this, Paul then says (in the verse being asked about) that that is why he and other believers focus on "what is unseen" (that is, the rewards that await them after their earthly life), rather than things that are seen (the visible difficulties endured by those preachers and believers during their earthly life), since the difficulties are temporal (and will thus end), while the rewards will be eternal.

August 03 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Yes, Chad, I think you are right. Joy is definitely unseen but we Christians can "look" forward to the joys of heaven. Also, "We have not seen Christ or heaven, but these are unseen things that we take by faith." (Wiersbe).

From Bible Hub Commentary:

"God is eternal, not temporal.

"The joys of heaven are eternal; There shall be no interruption; no night; no cessation; no end. Heaven and all its joys shall be everlasting; and he who enters there shall have the assurance that those joys shall endure and increase while eternal ages shall roll away.

"The woes of hell shall be eternal. We can't see it now, but it sure is real." --https://biblehub.com/commentaries/2_corinthians/4-18.htm

8 days ago 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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