5.11 2 Corinthians -- Jars of Clay

The paradox of Christianity is the indwelling of God in human flesh.  These two are not natural allies.  And just because God imputes righteousness to the believer does not mean the tension is over. Paul never forgets the frailty of the human partner in the union:

            But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body (2 Cor 4:7-10).

It would be easy to get depressed at the contrast between God's will and human reality, but Paul doesn't feel that way:

           Therefore we do not lose heart (2 Cor 4:16).

           The reason for this is that for Paul, the experience of the presence and deliverance of God outweighed the sufferings of mind and body.  And when things got really bad, he turned his gaze to heaven:

           Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands (2 Cor 5:1).