The New Testament frequently reminds us of the difficulty that the true minister of the Gospel faces. The Apostle Paul says, “We are being killed all day long, we are like sheep led to the slaughter” (Rom 8:36), and, “We are in danger every hour. We die daily” (1 Cor 15:30–32). He says the servant of God is constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake (2 Cor 4:11). And yet Paul also says he does not lose heart (2 Cor 4:16).
And as he wraps up chapter four and begins chapter five of 2 Corinthians, he develops the theme of how a sure and certain confidence in the bodily resurrection fuels our joyful, enduring ministry, even in the midst of affliction. We do not lose heart, because momentary, light affliction is achieving for us an eternal weight of glory (2 Cor 4:16-18). In the opening verse of chapter 5, Paul continues this thought.
“For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Paul can persevere in faithful service to the body of Christ—even the kind of service that requires him to lay down his life—because he knows something, because he has been persuaded of the truth. If you connect 5:1 with 4:16–18, you get, “Therefore, we do not lose heart . . . for we know.”