2Co 4:11-14 “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.”
In verse ten of this chapter, Paul declares that we bear in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus might also be manifest in our body. He then says that “we which live are always delivered unto death.” While it is certainly true that every living being will someday die (except for those who are alive at His final coming), this is not the sense of what Paul is speaking here. Those who are always (regularly) delivered (yielded up) unto death are those who live to the honor and glory of God.
It is amazing to consider that the life of Jesus Christ can be plainly seen in our mortal flesh. In that Paul remarks on our mortal flesh, he is clearly referring to these earthen vessels we now occupy. How gracious indeed is our God to so deal with us that the life of His only begotten Son should be seen in us! If we look closely at Paul’s statements in verses ten and eleven, he admonishes us that in order to show forth Jesus’ life in our mortal bodies it is necessary that we are delivered unto death of His sake.
The word “sake” as it is used here is not meant to convey that we do this to benefit Jesus. Instead it indicates that the only way we can be delivered unto death and manifest His life is through His power and might. Jesus is the means by which we are able to be delivered unto death and therefore manifest His life in our mortal bodies. There is a wonderful ministry in this process.
As the death of Jesus is seen in us, others see the life of Jesus. They understand that the only way we are able to proceed in this life with joy and peace is because our help comes from a source other than man. So as the death of Jesus works in us it also works to shine the light of God’s grace on the life of Jesus in those who see our labor in Christ.
The word translated as “worketh” here means to be effectual or to be mighty in us. Because of the effectual working of both the death and the life of Jesus, we have a faith that is steadfast. This gives us the liberty to claim with David (as Paul did here) “I believed, therefore have I spoken (Psa 116:10).” We have the same spirit of faith working in us that was present with David, with Paul, and all those who have and will declare their absolute faith in Jesus Christ.
It is a great joy to those who minister to realize that we share in the same joy and love as those to whom we minister. We know that God raised up the Lord Jesus. This knowledge gives us the grace and faith to declare that the God who raised up the Lord Jesus will raise us up by Jesus. While we certainly have hope of the resurrection, but I believe Paul is addressing something more immediate here.
Up to this point, Paul has been dealing with the proof of the dying and life of Jesus Christ in our mortal bodies. As we bear both the dying and the life. God will raise us up here in His kingdom to sit in heavenly places in Christ. It is this raising up that make us confident in the resurrection. Paul further clarified this in his letter to the Romans when he said “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal (my emphasis) bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
May we give God glory for presenting those who are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake with those in whom this death worketh life, that we might praise Him together!