2 Corinthians 4:10-12
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.…
The first and literal meaning of these words is that Paul and his friends were in daily peril of such a death as Christ's was, and that their trials left sorrowful trace upon form and feature. It is not so that we are called to be "conformable to the death" of our Redeemer. The days of martyrdom are gone. There are those who think to exemplify the text by bearing about with them the material representation of the Redeemer's death — the crucifix. Ah! you may do that, and yet be hundreds of miles away from any compliance with the spirit of the text. Our Lord requires of us the devotion of the heart; it is spiritually that we are to bear about our Saviour's dying.
I. WE MAY BEAR ABOUT THE MEMORY OF IT.
1. Nothing can be more plain than that we ought never to forget our Redeemer's death. When some one very near to you died, even after the first shock was past, and you could once more with some measure of calmness set yourself to your common duties again, did you not still feel, in the greater sympathy with the sorrows of others, in the quieter mood, that you had not quite got over your trial, that you were still bearing about with you the dying of the dear one that was gone?
2. The remembrance of our Lord's death should influence all our views and doings. The kind mother who wore out her life in toiling for her child might well think that the child might sometimes come and stand by her grave, and remember her living kindness and her dying words when she was far away. And oh! when we think what our Saviour Christ has done for us by His dying — when we think that every hope, every blessing, was won for us by that great sacrifice — surely we might well determine that we never shall live as if that death had never been! You hear people say — truly enough, perhaps — that this world has never been the same to them since such a loved one died — that their whole life has been changed since then. It is sad to see a Christian living in such a fashion as to show plainly that he has quite forgot how his Redeemer died!
(1) When we think of sin, let us see it in the light of Christ's death, and hate it because it nailed Him to the tree.
(2) Or is it suffering and sorrow that come to us, and are we ready to repine and to rebel? Then let us call to mind the dying of our Redeemer, and it will not seem so hard that the servant should fare no better than the Master.
(3) Or are we pressed with the sense of our sinfulness and the fear of God's wrath for sin? Then let us remember how Jesus died for us, the just for the unjust — how His blood can take all sin away.
II. WE MAY SHOW IN OUR DAILY LIFE ITS TRANSFORMING POWER. Our whole life, changed and affected in its every deed by the fact that Christ died, may be a standing testimony that there is a real power to affect the character in the death of the Saviour; and thus we may, in a very true and solemn sense, be always bearing about with us His death by bearing about with us a soul which is what it is mainly because He died.
1. When in the view of the Cross we see how bitterly and mysteriously evil and ruinous sin is, surely the practical lesson is plain that we should resolutely tread it down, and earnestly seek for deliverance from the curse of that fearful thing which brought such unutterable agony upon our Redeemer, and constantly pray for that blessed Spirit who will breathe new life into every good resolution, and vivify into sunlight clearness every sound and true belief.
2. When sorrow and suffering come, think of them as in the presence of the Redeemer's death, and you will learn the lesson of practical resignation.
3. And in days of fear and anxiety, when you do not know how it will go with you, look to Jesus on the Cross, and learn the lesson of practical confidence in God's disposing love and wisdom.
4. And, to sum up all, let us daily bear about His dying by dying to sin and living to holiness. That is the grand conformity which is open to all of us — that is the fashion in which we may be "crucified with Christ." Conclusion: "Always." Yes, always bear it; never lay that burden down. Always bear it; not in sourness — not in that hard, severe type of religion which we may see in some mistaken and narrow-hearted believers. Bear it in humility, kindness, charity, hopefulness, and cheerfulness.
(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.