The Cost of Knowing & Showing Christ

I suspect Paul’s experience when he was caught up into paradise, while not absolutely normative, is at least a caution: Count the cost before you want to know Christ deeply or show him clearly.

“He heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” (2 Corinthians 12:4). But there was a price to be paid for this extraordinary knowledge.

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). The way this thorn worked was to “beat” Paul (hina me kolaphize). That’s the meaning of the word in each of its other four uses in the New Testament.

But Paul concluded that it was doubly worth it.

First, he did not regret the revelations.

Second, he discovered the price of knowing Christ deeply was also the path of magnifying him clearly.

Jesus told him, “My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). So Paul rejoiced and said, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Neither knowing nor showing Christ is cheap.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.