2 Corinthians 4:7-15
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
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 effects 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