Today's passage has too many good passages for me to cover everything as I'd like to - a bunch of my favorite passages in the Bible are here. I'll just put a few of them out with some thoughts:
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Do you want to see a miracle? A lot of people seek miracles in the world today because they want to have some kind of "tangible" experience of God. The verse makes it clear: if you know Christ, you are a miracle. The same powerful word that created - that said "Let there be light" and there was light - has spoken light into us. If you know Jesus, it is the miracle of creation: you are a new creation. That is the greatest miracle.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
God doesn't just zap us into perfect people when He speaks His light into us. We remain imperfect, lest others look at us and say "I can never be like __________. He's got everything together and is an amazing person." We have the power of God, the light of God, in "jars of clay" - plain things that don't draw attention. Things work this way because people then look us and see the power of God working, not the power of self-will and personal "drive". That's the way it should be. Let God have the power and glory, don't take it for yourself.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison...
This is one of the foundational ideas behind our current sermon series on suffering: things may seem bad now, but they aren't even worth comparing to the good and glory that will come. Our bodies are dying a little more and more each day, but our "inner self" is becoming more and more alive as we get closer and closer to glory.
For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
We in the US have a very unfortunate and untrue view as a culture of what heaven is like. There we'll be: ghosty things floating around in togas with harps. This verse destroys that view. We will not be unclothed (our bodies removed), but further clothed. Our broken mortal bodies will be replaced by resurrection bodies. This sad, decaying form will be swallowed up by TRUE life and a true body. Who wouldn't be excited to wait for that? It's way better than being a ghost in a toga.
Like I said, there's a lot here and I haven't really given a lot of context and flow of thought, but I HIGHLY recommend that you take a listen to this message from our passage today. I don't put sermons on here very often, but this one is definitely worth it. It's called "Hurting But Hopeful":