Wednesday, 25 March 2015
I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 1 Corinthians 15:31
The difficulty of verse 29 is partially explained in this verse. Paul noted those who are “baptized for the dead.” He tells us now, as an affirmation (“I affirm”) a note concerning the surety of hope that the believer possesses in Christ. This follows directly from his words of verse 30 which told us that he stood “in jeopardy every hour.” As follow-on to that, he says, “…by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
The “boasting” he notes concerning the Corinthians is noted in 2 Corinthians 9:3 also. They are his converts and the people of the church he helped to establish. He had suffered greatly for them, placing his life in jeopardy for their sake as much as for the sake of any other churches he was involved in. They were as children to a father to him.
This boast of Paul is then noted as “in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Those who have called on Christ are “in” Christ. They have moved from death to life. And yet, he says “I die daily.” He put himself on the line for their sake through many trials and sufferings. Of these trials and sufferings, any could result in his actual death, and so he metaphorically says, “I die daily.” What would be the point of such a life if the hope of the resurrection wasn’t true? And thus, what would be the point of baptism in that hope?
The very nature of baptism is a picture of death in Christ and then being raised to newness of life. Being submersed pictures His death and thus our participation in that. Being raised pictures His resurrection and thus our participation in that. Therefore, Paul’s comment that he “dies daily” has no true and lasting consequences because ultimately he is “in Christ” and he already possesses eternal life.
When those who follow him in his example are baptized, they are so baptized in this same hope. He will continue to explain this in the coming verse.
Life application: If you have received Christ, and you truly believe that you have been granted eternal life, then why should the prospect of facing death in this life really matter? Yes, the thought of physical death can be unnerving, but if our hope in Christ is sure, it is not the end of the story. Should we face death, let us demonstrate the faith we possess in a manner worthy of the promise tied to that faith.
O God! My heart is steadfast and I will not be moved. No matter what trials I face, I will not lose heart, nor will my faith in Christ be diminished. Jesus has overcome death and He will return to raise me up as well some wondrous day, and so even the great enemy of death has no mastery over me. Should he come for me today, I will consider it a welcome rest until I awake to see my Lord’s glorious face. No fear here! Amen.