We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. (2Cor 4:8-12)
If there was ever a NT epistle the church in my lifetime needed it is Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. Writing to congregations that were troubled by “super-apostles” who preached a “gospel” of power and spectacle, the author sets forth the way of Jesus as an antidote to their triumphalism.
The other day, I quoted the above passage in a comment thread. One line kept reverberating in my heart and mind: “…always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.”
Unless I am mistaken, what we have here is a succinct statement of the Jesus-shaped life.
We lay down our lives as Jesus did, and through that — the cruciform life — the resurrection life of Jesus is revealed in and through us.
In response to people who were promoting winning, 2 Corinthians recommends losing.
In response to chasing spiritual highs, 2 Corinthians recommends the lowly way of servanthood.
In response those who emphasized impressing others, 2 Corinthians recommends laying down one’s life for others.
In response to a message of a “victorious life,” 2 Corinthians recommends a life that is “strong” only when it embraces “weakness.”
The contrast with what passes for Christianity today could hardly be more vivid.
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