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Living by Faith

16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

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16. we faint not—notwithstanding our sufferings. Resuming 2Co 4:1.

outward man—the body, the flesh.

perish—"is wearing away"; "is wasted away" by afflictions.

inward man—our spiritual and true being, the "life" which even in our mortal bodies (2Co 4:11) "manifests the life of Jesus."

is renewed—"is being renewed," namely, with fresh "grace" (2Co 4:15), and "faith" (2Co 4:13), and hope (2Co 4:17, 18).

17. which is but for a moment—"Our PRESENT light (burden of) affliction" (so the Greek; compare Mt 11:30), [Alford]. Compare "now for a season … in heaviness" (1Pe 1:6). The contrast, however, between this and the "ETERNAL weight of glory" requires, I think, the translation, "Which is but for the present passing moment." So Wahl. "The lightness of affliction" (he does not express "burden" after "light"; the Greek is "the light of affliction") contrasts beautifully with the "weight of the glory."

worketh—rather, "worketh out."

a far more exceeding and—rather, "in a surpassing and still more surpassing manner" [Alford]; "more and more exceedingly" [Ellicott, Trench, and others]. Greek, "in excess and to excess." The glory exceeds beyond all measure the affliction.

18. look not at—as our aim.

things … seen—"earthly things" (Php 3:19). We mind not the things seen, whether affliction or refreshment come, so as to be seduced by the latter, or deterred by the former [Chrysostom].

things … not seen—not "the invisible things" of Ro 1:20, but the things which, though not seen now, shall be so hereafter.

temporal—rather, "for a time"; in contrast to eternal. English Version uses "temporal" for temporary. The Greek is rightly translated in the similar passage, "the pleasures of sin for a season."