Thursday, 23 July 2015
…always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:10
In the previous two verses, Paul made 4 contrasting thoughts concerning difficulties faced by the apostles and yet overcome by the power of God in them. Continuing on in a similar vein, he says that they are “always carrying about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus.” This is a reference to the sufferings and death of the Lord. The word “dying” is nekrósis. It means both the process of dying and the deadness of something which lacks any life at all. The only other use of it is in Romans 4:19 when speaking of the deadness of Sarah’s womb.
In their bodies, the apostles were always carrying about this state. They were exposed to the constant threat of death and even experienced acts which could easily lead to death. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says –
“And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:30, 31
And in a great summary of his sufferings which he endured, and the reason for them, he says to the Philippians –
“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:8-11
These references, and numerous others, show the constant threat of death which surrounded Paul and the other apostles. And yet they were willing to endure this, carrying the dying of the Lord with them, so “that the life of Jesus also may be manifest in our body.” There are different opinions on what Paul is referring to here.
It could be that he was showing through his life of “dying” that he lives through the power of Christ, and thus he is an object lesson concerning death and resurrection. It could be that the power of Christ (because He is resurrected) is seen in the apostles; they are a witness to the life of Jesus. Or it could be that Paul is simply speaking as being one who emulates Christ. As he is dying and will die just as Christ died, so he will live again as Christ lived again; thus his life is patterned after the Lord – having died in a weak physical frame, and yet to be raised to an immortal new frame.
Whatever the intent of Paul’s words truly is, he and the other apostles suffered for the name of Christ, both in death and in life. But to them (and therefore it should be to us) there was no loss, but only gain. As he said to those in Rome –
“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:10
Life application: Christ died so that we could live. In proof that this is true, He now lives so that we are to have no fear in death. If we are in Christ, we have moved from death to life. The body may perish, but the hope of everlasting life is assured.
Heavenly Father, we have always lived in fear of death, but Christ came to die so that we could live. For those who accept His work by faith, we share in His victory over death and we have the assurance of eternal life. Thank You for the absolute guarantee we have because of the resurrection. Sin is nailed to the cross and therefore we can never be separated from You again. What a glorious promise! No fear here… Jesus has paved the way to eternal life! Amen.