For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.2 Corinthians 4:11(NASB)
Having been chosen by God and called to be an apostle of Christ, Paul proclaimed the glorious gospel of grace with great boldness of spirit, but he also presented it with much humility of heart. Paul taught that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ. He taught that when the truth of God's Word shines into our hearts, by faith, we are given the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ - but he also warned that the Christian life is not an easy one.
Paul knew he was simply a weak, human vessel who was saved by grace through faith in Jesus and indwelt by the Spirit of God... when his eyes were opened on that road to Damascus. Like Paul, the Spirit of Christ takes up residence within the mortal bodies of all believers, the moment of our salvation. God chose to use weak, human vessels to fulfil His plans and purposes so that the excellence of the power within may be of God and not of us - so that His strength is perfected in our weakness - so that God is glorified and we are not.
Paul was ready and willing to spend his entire life preaching the Gospel of Christ crucified, no matter the cost. He knew that Jesus of Nazareth, Whom he had persecuted, had been delivered over to death on the Cross willingly for his sake... so that by faith in HIM, Paul would also be raised to life immortal. Christ died for PAUL and Paul was willing to give his life to Jesus. He was ready to be delivered over to death for Jesus' sake - so that Christ could live His life through Paul - so that God is glorified. And we are called to do the same.
As a disciple of the Lord Jesus, Paul knew that he faced many difficulties and dangers which is why he wrote, "for we who live... we who are saved, are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh." But what did Paul mean when he said, "we are continuously being handed over to death?" What does it mean: "that the life of Jesus might be displayed in our mortal bodies?"
Paul knew that we have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ and are the blessed recipients of the riches of God's grace. He knew that in Christ we have won the victory over sin, Satan, death, and hell. He knew that in Christ, we are sons of God and eternally secure and yet during our sojourn on earth, we will face many many difficulties, dangers, suffering, and pain: "we will be constantly delivered over to death..."
Paul knew that when we suffer for Christ's sake, God is glorified. When we suffer for righteousness’ sake in this fallen world, we discover God's grace is sufficient grace. When we suffer for Him, the greater the spiritual strength we receive from our Heavenly Father. As we trust His Word and rely on the Lord the more we will grow in grace, walk in spirit and truth, and continue to be conformed into the likeness of the lovely Lord Jesus - until "it is not I that lives - but the life of Christ that is manifest in this mortal body."
Paul knew that life comes through death, and joy is birthed through sorrow. Jesus Himself told us that those who follow Him WILL suffer persecution - before the glory comes the Cross. Paul was a man with spiritual integrity who was willing to die to his self-interest and live for Christ alone. He was ready to give His life for his Saviour so that the life of Jesus might be manifest in his mortal body - and we must be ready to do the same.
God's love is so great that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the ransom price for our sin, and Paul understood that the enemy of our soul had many nefarious strategies to prevent a sinner from being saved and many shrewd schemes to shipwreck the faith of a believer. He knew the terrible consequences of man's sin, for we are all born in sin and under God's condemnation.
He knew that the god of this age blinds men's eyes to the truth of the glorious gospel of grace, and he understood that the gospel is veiled to an unbelieving world and hidden from those who are perishing. But Paul also knew that the One who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead would raise him us also, with Jesus - just as Christ rose from the dead, we have the assurance that God will also raise us from the dead, together with ALL who have trusted in Him for their salvation.
The enemy of our soul has many ways to keep us from a knowledge of the truth, but just as Paul was ready to be delivered over to death for Christ's sake so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in his mortal flesh, may we also be willing to suffer for the sake of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, so that His life may be manifest in us and work through us, for God's greater glory.
Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus died and was raised from the dead for my sake. Thank You for the ministry of Paul whose life was a little reflection of Christ's deep love for us... as he selflessly shared the gospel of grace to lost souls and was willing to be delivered over to suffering and death for love of the Lord Jesus so that the life of Christ might be manifest through him. I pray that I would be willing to die to my own self-interest for the love of Christ Jesus so that I may also be used by You to spread the good news of the gospel of grace and the life of Jesus might be manifest in my mortal body too. This I ask in Jesus' precious name, AMEN.
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