so death is at work in us, but life in you. (2 corinthians 4:12)
there is a powerful implication of the person and work of Jesus Christ at play thru this whole chapter: in the gospel, death leads to life.
Jesus rose from the dead conquering sin, death, and hell. he had risen and was proven and revealed as God. (2 cor 4:5) he had risen proving he was greater than all the darkness and brokenness of this world. (2 cor 4:6a) he had risen providing a way for us to be right with God so we could be with God forever. (2 cor 4:6b) yet, all these things were only possible, if he died.
Jesus’ death led to life.
now paul says, “we are afflicted …, we are perplexed …, we are persecuted …,” and all these things are happening so the death of our old nature can lead to continued growth of the life of Jesus in us.
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 cor 4:10-11)
in Christ, their death in them led to life in them.
now in verse 12, read again what paul says, “so death is at work in us, but life in you.” he is not saying, “run and hide. we are sacrificing our lives so you can escape.” this was not an escape plan for persecuted Christians. no. he was saying, because of Jesus, this death in us is producing life in you. how is this possible?
- when you get up early to pray for your family, in Christ dying to your comfort, God produces life in them.
- when you suffer through a debilitating disease in Christ, you give life to all those around who watch and experience God’s grace in and through you.
- when you grieve the loss of a loved one with hope in Christ, you give life to all those around who grieve without hope.
- when you are made fun of at work or are verbally attacked by a boss because of your love for Jesus, you give life to another co-worker who is watching.
in Christ, when you die to self God produces life in others.
two questions for today:
- what is God calling you to die to?
- will you pray God uses this death in you to produce life in you and others? (pray for specific family members, friends, or co-workers)
LORD, in Jesus our death does produce your life. and this life reveals your glory, your greatness. this is my prayer, allow me to die to self today as you call me. and please, use this to reveal your glory, to grow your life in another. in Jesus name, amen!
~ john ryan