At first read, this passage reminds me of that late 1990’s drinking song ‘Tub Thumping’ – “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain’t never going to keep me down”. Or the exploits of Rocky Balboa come to mind, ‘down, but never for the count!’
But Paul is talking about something far more reliable and enduring then the human spirit of persistence and dogged determination. Paul knows what it means to be knocked down, literally. He has been abused in all senses of the word. He knows that he will one day be knocked down so hard that he does not get up again, not under his own steam. But there is nothing that can be thrown at Paul, not even death, that can keep him down forever, because Christ himself is at work in him and the Holy Spirit will raise him up for all eternity.
The work of death is not something we can escape as Christians, its gnawing affects on the physical body are a guarantee for all of us. God’s plan for his people is not that we would escape death, but overcome it. One day, just like Rocky, we will stand over a defeated and powerless ‘death’, and we will gloat over it.
Lord, in our lives, let the world know that you have conquered death. Tell them through us.
Written by Andrew Mellor