Ministers of the New Covenant
You [The Corinthians I guess] are the proof that we are doing a good job. We are ministers of a new covenant that surpasses the old covenant of Moses. The old covenant kills, but ours gives life. The covenant given to Moses written on that tablets was so full of glory that the men could not look at it directly, but compared to the glory given to us through the spirit the old one had no glory at all. This is partly because our glory lasts forever and the glory of Moses eventually came to and end. When reading Moses, there is a veil over your heart which can only be taken away through Jesus Christ.
This section I found fairly difficult to understand. I think I got the idea right, but I might be misinterpreting stuff. The whole thing seems very anti-Semitic to me though, as it seems to be comparing Christians to Jews and the Jews are spoken of in poor light. Their religion is talked about in terms of death and behind a veil and with hardened hearts and so forth. The whole thing makes me a bit uneasy.
The Light of the Gospel (ch 4)
We have this ministry by the mercy of God and we refuse to use any underhanded or disgraceful methods. Jesus said to let the light shine out of the darkness, and it has shone into our hearts the knowledge and glory of God.
So basically, they want to let the gospel out to as many people as possible. Fair enough, if you believe something like this is true the correct thing is obviously to tell everyone about it that you can. You should dedicate your life to spreading this message.
v3-4 "and even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In 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."
This really caught my eye, especially the fact that the god that was blinding the minds of the unbelievers was not capitalized. I'm assuming this is supposed to be a competing god from another religion. If another god can shield people's mind from God, what does that say about the omnipotence of God?
Treasure in Jars of Clay
I assume Jar of Clay is supposed to be our bodies.
We accumulate treasures in this world, and yet they will waste away. If we also carry the death of Jesus in our hearts, so will the life of Jesus manifest in our bodies.
Basically just saying that you will die, but if you believe in our stuff you will actually live forever. What an enticing story.