14But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him.15For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;16to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?17For we are not peddlers of God's word like so many; but in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence.Chapter 3Ministers of the New Covenant
1Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we?2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all;3and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.4Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.5Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God,6who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.7Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stone tablets, came in glory so that the people of Israel could not gaze at Moses' face because of the glory of his face, a glory now set aside,8how much more will the ministry of the Spirit come in glory?9For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, much more does the ministry of justification abound in glory!10Indeed, what once had glory has lost its glory because of the greater glory;11for if what was set aside came through glory, much more has the permanent come in glory!12Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness,13not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside.14But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside.15Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds;16but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.18And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.Chapter 4Treasure in Clay Jars
1Therefore, since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.2We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God's word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.5For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake.6For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.7But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.8We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;10always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.11For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.12So death is at work in us, but life in you.13But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak,14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence.15Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.Living by Faith
16So 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.Chapter 51For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.2For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling—3if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked.4For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.5He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.6So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—7for we walk by faith, not by sight.8Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.9So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.10For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.The Ministry of Reconciliation
11Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences.12We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart.13For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.14For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.15And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.16From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.