always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. for we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. [2 corinthians 4:10-11]
our bodies are weak. we get sick. we get hurt. we die. paul saw so much physical suffering for Christ, sometimes even leading to death. he is saying we endure physical deterioration so that people can see the eternal life that we have in Jesus radiating from our spirit. God is most glorified by using weak people to show his great power. we are also being given over to death in that we now, through the work of the Holy Spirit, are continually killing sin that still has a strong hold over our flesh. killing pride, idolatry, our desire for worldly comfort, our desire for control. this is the death of Christ in us. and this is the new life of Christ in us. in our weakness, there is no power to kill the old man and create the new. and so God gets the glory for His work in our lives.
and you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. for by grace you have been saved through faith. and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. ephesians 2:1-10
before Christ reigned in my heart, i was spiritually dead. i carried the death that the law brings, with unopened eyes to the grace that is only found in Jesus. at the same time, the only life I knew was my life in the flesh. my living for myself, my bondage to sin. i looked for life in my own accomplishments. so I was spiritually dead, and only alive in my flesh. then Jesus turned everything upside down. he gave me understanding of His mercy, gave me belief in His grace, and breathed life into my dead soul. well, we know that i cannot be alive in the Spirit and also alive in the flesh. (you cannot serve two masters. matt 6:24) so the work of sanctification began. through the Holy Spirit, my fleshly desires are constantly being brought into the light of His glory and grace, and executed, there on the altar, offered as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. i carry the death of Christ so that sin can no longer reign in my mortal flesh but the eternal life of Christ is evident. do I still sin? of course. we are being transformed from one degree of glory to another.
(2 cor 3:18) are being transformed. not have been transformed. this series of executions is a refining process that is ongoing, and is promised to be completed in the day of Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
today, let’s sit in the all satisfying presence of God together and thank him that we are weak, for showing His glory through us. we thank God that he is transforming us from one degree of glory to another, killing sin. let’s ask for more of Christ’s death in our bodies, more refining, more sin exposed. so that the life of Christ all that the world sees, to the praise of his glorious grace.
~ arwen eastman