Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
Here Paul returns to the thought of the first verse of this chapter –
“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” 2 Corinthians 4:1
In the ministry they received mercy and in this they were able to remain steadfast. To continue with that thought after discussing the continuous challenge to their lives for the sake of that gospel ministry, he now says, “Even though our outward man is perishing…” This is what he has been alluding to, particularly in verses 7-11. They had faced many trials and death was always at hand, and “yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”
The physical body was continuously degrading and would eventually end, but the spiritual man in them was growing more in the likeness of Christ with each passing day. And so it was understood that the daily death they lived was only a temporary thing which was ultimately leading to eternal life.
An analogy to hopefully make this understandable would be taking a massive amount of fill which contains precious ore and passing it through a purification process. As the fill (the outward man) is taken away, the ore (the inward man) is coming more and more into focus. At first there was tons of dirt. Eventually there is a pile of unrefined gold. From there, the gold is placed in a furnace and it melts. Eventually it is brought out and the impurities are skimmed off. This is repeated until there is only the purest of gold left.
Paul and the other apostles (and we who are in Christ) are being refined, even in a body which is impure and perishing with time. But inside of us, because of Christ, is something pure and wonderful. As we are renewed day by day we are molded more and more into His image until only that which is perfect is left.
Life application: Let us never tire of striving to learn about Christ, to pursue Christ, and to emulate Christ. In so doing, a marvelous change is taking place which will have an eternal glory associated with it.
Heavenly Father, as the impurities of my life are removed, I am being molded into the image of Your Son. Help me to continuously strive to learn more about Him and then to put that knowledge into emulation of Him. Keep me from going backwards. Instead help me to keep my eyes fixed on Him, my heart attuned to Your wishes for me, and my mind ever striving to be conformed to His image. Thank You for guiding me in this most noble of goals. Amen.