Life in Death

2 Corinthians 4: 10           NIV

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

I will begin by honestly confessing that I do not understand the depth of this verse so I offer it to you for your contemplation. Why does Paul admittedly carry around the death of Christ in his body?

Allow me to show you this passage in context from the New American Standard Bible beginning with verse 8: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” This version shows us that Paul didn’t just carry around the death of Christ in his body but the reality of the dying of Jesus. Paul uses a progressive tense. The truth of Jesus’ death is a continuing reality in Paul and through that the ongoing and increasing life of Christ manifested in his life and in his body.

There is life in death. That is Paul’s ultimate message. He and his team were constantly in peril of death but he shows us that though they were afflicted and persecuted those afflictions and persecutions were not the end of the story. The life of Christ in them sustained them so that they were never crushed, despairing, forsaken or destroyed. In here we see the parable of the sower and the seed. Jesus laid down his life. He died but in his death was the seed, the seed of life. He laid down his life and arose with life eternal. When we receive the death of Christ as a personal reality then we also die. We die to ourselves and arise to the life of Christ. We crucify our flesh in a way which is similar to Jesus’ crucifixion. Then we bury the old self and arise a new person in Christ Jesus.

However, this passage leads one to conclude that this is not a once and for all procedure. Paul said that they were “always carrying about . . . the dying of Jesus.” That event became written on Paul’s DNA. He was crucified with Christ and that reality was imprinted in his body. Since he carried an always present impression of the dying of Christ in his body, there was always a constant regeneration of the life of Christ in his body as well. The life of Christ was not just given to us as in a past tense event. No, the life of Christ is continually manifesting in the children of light. His presence within us is constantly renewed. It is growing as we allow more of his death and ours to permeate every cell of our bodies. So, the more we yield to death, the more life is generated. Crazy huh? But that is how a seed works. Through death it yields life. The more seeds you can convince to die, the greater your harvest will be. Hence, the more we die to self the more we live to Christ which simply means the more of Christ’s life and the fullness of who he is manifests in our experience. His breath becomes our breath. His life permeates our muscles. He becomes the strength in our bones and sinew so that we are in a constant state of regeneration. Life from death. If you would live, then you must die. If you want life continuously renewing in your body then you must continuously give yourself over to the dying of Christ. Carrying Christ’s death in your body is like having a seed planter within you which is constantly sowing life. You will be in a constant state of reaping. You only have to die to live.