Today's Foundations Devotional: Jesus’ life made manifest in our mortal body

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Memory verse:

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

(Romans 8:14)

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In 2 Cor. 4:8-11, Paul depicts this miracle of resurrection life in a mortal body against a background of tremendous pressures, both physical and spiritual.

We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

What wonderful words! The very life of Jesus is to be manifested – its presence is to be demonstrated by the visible effects which it produces “in our body.” For the sake of emphasis Paul says this twice, but the second time he speaks of “our mortal flesh.” By this phrase he eliminates any interpretation which might seek to apply his words to a future state of the body after resurrection. He is talking about our present physical body. In the midst of all the pressures that come against it – both natural and satanic – it is sustained by an inner life which cannot be defeated.

This manifestation of the mighty, victorious, supernatural life of the risen Christ in the believer’s body is not reserved merely for the resurrection, but it is to be effective even now while we still continue “in our mortal flesh.” The open manifestation of Christ’s life in our body here and now is the basic, scriptural principle of divine healing and divine health.

Central to this ongoing miracle is a paradox that runs through the whole Bible: death is the gateway to life. In each place where Paul testifies to the manifestation of Christ’s life, he first speaks of identification with His death: “always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.”

Jesus did not die a natural death; He died by crucifixion. To be identified with Him is to be crucified with Him. But out of crucifixion comes resurrection to an inner life that owes no further debt to sin or to Satan, to the flesh or to the world.

Paul presents both the negative and the positive side of this exchange.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal. 2:20).

The same process of crucifixion that ends our frail, transient life in this world opens the way for a new life that is the life of God Himself, taking up residence in a vessel of clay. The vessel is still as frail as ever, but the new life in it is undefeatable and inexhaustible.

As long as this present world order continues, however, there will always be an ongoing tension between the frailty of the flesh and the new life in the Spirit.

Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16).

The physical body is still subject to sickness and decay from without, but the resurrection life from within has power to hold them at bay until the believer’s life task is complete. After that, as Paul says, “to depart and be with Christ ... is far better” (Phil. 1:23).

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Prayer:

Lord, thank You for the beautiful world that we live in, created

by You. But help me to constantly realize that this here and

now isn’t everything, that the best, the most beautiful and the

most wonderful are still to come ... I have a wonderful future

ahead of me. Amen.

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