2 Corinthians 4 seems to address an issue that the current Church faces. Every time the Church shies away from suffering as a part and a process to holiness the Church invents doctrines which have their roots in truths found in the Word yet they diverge greatly pandering for the flesh and its desires.
The excellency of the power that may be of God, is all conditional upon the processes we address in this life. There is the phrase “we are perplexed but not in despair”, this speaks of an external confrontation with our inner man which resists the natural reaction to all that which perplexes us, which is to enter into despair. It is this very process God started to address with me, that what will come from our external reality must not influence or change our inward reality.
It is this very process which will determine our destiny, as we allow external ideologies and pressures to change the way we throw off the old man, dressing the new man in Christ, via a constant and consistent decision to live the new life in Christ. It is this we see in the Book of Revelation, where the beast, the antichrist and false prophets, bringing through fear the external pressures that surrender the inner man to their dominion. Here in 2 Corinthians 4 Paul specifically shows us the entry point for this inner man being set in Christ.
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus
The dying of the Lord Jesus speaks to the attitude and position Jesus had on Calvary, the subjection to the most hideous of deaths, with the resignation and subjection to it, in all its pain, its shame, its darkness. That is as we give ourselves in constant submission always with that “dying” mentality we do not give opportunity to the independent attitude, or the achievement attitude. We have not achieved or merited anything by conduct or by effort, the more we engage the dying, the more this life of the resurrection appears.
In a sense the life of Christ is only transferred and manifest through our flesh in the measure that we engage this dying process. Much of the heresies and the false teachers we see is those who may have once tasted the holy vocation but have not engaged the constant state of dying. Suffering is a servant that constantly reminds us of our need of dying, where our pain drives us on our knees to our Suffering Lord.
For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake
And yet once we sense that life of Jesus, we are then delivered once again, as we identify with Jesus. If we are to work His works we must ultimately die His death. That is a qualifier not a disqualifier. Paul has cited to Timothy concerning the enemies of the Cross, are those who do not engage the dying,living, delivered to dying again. The more we descend so He will ascend through us.
However those pressures which come from without, processed correctly in grace produce godly patience. And right now with the constant sense of crisis, of pandemic, of economic recession, of murders, rioting, destruction, terrorism the Church cannot give a proper response unless she feels and processes all these things in the death of Jesus, so that meeting those in the middle of suffering, with an empathetic Gospel, a Gospel where Jesus walks with all in different walks of suffering, presenting through it hope and faith to believe that in it, God will bring them into a knowledge of Himself in ways they would not understand without the crisis. The Church must learn that intercession is not prayer, nor meetings, but it is the Church being like Christ, suffering as all suffer and dying as all die.
So then death works in us but life in you
This will be the result of the Church learning and walking in the fulness of Christ’s intercession. Jesus can pray effectively as He walked in human flesh, suffered every temptation and overcome, suffered people in their various temperaments, and suffered cruel betrayal and death. Jesus now stands at the Right Hand offering effective mediation for us, as He has walked with us in every way. So in this year the Church must process the Gospel in the valley of the Shadow of Death with all. As the Church seems to die, in the experiences, so in those the Church walks with, life will start to spring forth in all who are ministered to.
Once we make that full identification with Christ we will see Him manifest more fully.
In the same spirit of faith
We speak of faith as a component of believing, in what we have discovered I would say faith operates from our identification with Christ. As we learn that our “dying” is a gateway to spiritual life, embracing its Grace, we will see faith come from a place of this embrace of spiritual life and prophetically proclaiming it around. Paul alludes to a scripture, Psalm 116:10 , “I believed therefore I have spoken,”therefore what we have spoken, declared is the “hupostasis” of what we believe. This hupostasis, is not ordinary substance, it is divine in origin, is divine in its objective. This substance is part of the divine building blocks of creation itself. As it presents the fabric of the universe sustained by the Word itself so it manifests through the faith that our dying to self, rising to spiritual life brings to our lives.
The culmination we find in the end of this chapter that Paul puts our trials and tribulations in the balance with what is coming eternally in terms of our reward, our perfection, our joy unspeakable, that we would alter our mindset somewhat.
This vision will cause us to see 2020 not as a year of pandemics, losses, or sickness, but in the light of eternity being the year of glory, gain, and eternal life. As we begin to immerse ourselves in that eternal substance we will begin to be led into a life which overcoming will become a daily reality. People won’t see us, but in our identification with Christ, they will behold Him!
For what is coming upon the earth is not destruction but a preparation for the physical throne, a physical Kingdom ruled by Jesus present, from Jerusalem. These are the birth pangs of that process. It is not about the devil having the last word, or doing the last act, but rather God bringing forth His King, and revealing the true sons of God!
This year is a preparation in that process.