The Sentence of Death in Ourselves
2 Corinthians 1:9
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raises the dead:

St. Paul had just recovered from a depression of spirit under which his frame, never very robust, had been bowed down almost to the grave. He was no Stoic. No spiritual man is. Regenerate life brings quickened sensibility. The new heart is both deep and rapid in its appreciations, and feels intensely both joy and sorrow. St. Paul had not lost faith or comfort in his distress. Tie trusted in the living and life-giving God. All spiritual men find that faith thrives when they have to endure hardness. If they occupy places of ease or walk on sunny heights, they look down into the sorrows of life and call them dark and dismal. But when their path lies through the valley on which death shadows fall, they lift their eyes to the hills whence help comes. The hills are near and strong, and the sky above reveals its golden stars. It is in houses of comfort that we often find doubt and discontent; but Divine serenity floats over the tried saints, and the secret prayers of God's stricken ones have the sweetest tones of hope. The reason of this is not obscure. If your chamber is full of light by night, and you look out through the window, you discern little or nothing - all is dark. But if your chamber be in darkness, and you look forth, you see the moon and stars ruling the night, the trees standing as solemn sentinels in the valley, and the mountain casting a broad shadow on the sea. So, when you have worldly ease and pleasure, heavenly things are very dim to you. But, when the world is darkened, heaven brightens, and you trust in God who raises the dead. There is a heathen conception of death which makes all vigorous limb shrink and recoil. Tim dead are thought to go away into a mournful stillness, or move through the air and haunt lonely places, as pallid shades or ghosts. There is also a Hebrew conception of death which sufficed in the time of the Old Testament, but falls quite short of what is now brought to light by the gospel (see Psalm 115:17; Isaiah 38:18, 19). But Christ has delivered from the fear of death. Every believer in Christ may enter into the consolation of St. Paul. If he is in sickness and has a sentence of death in himself, or sees that sentence written on the wan countenance of one whom he loves, he is not without a strong solace. It is not the mere philosophical tenet of the immortality of the soul, which implies an endless being, but by no means attains to the Christian doctrine of eternal life. It is faith in God who raises the dead. Father Abraham had this comfort when he strode up the hill, with the knife to slay and the fire to consume in sacrifice his dear son, "accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." We read of certain Hebrew women who through faith "received their dead brought to life again." We remember one instance in the ministry of Elijah, and another in that of Elisha. In those times it was an object to live long in the land which Jehovah God had given to his people; and so it was a blessed resurrection to be restored so as to prolong one's days on the earth. In the beginning of the gospel a few such cases are reported. We allude to the ruler's daughter, the widow's son, Lazarus, and Tabitha or Dorcas. But the gospel being fully unfolded, and the hope laid up in heaven made known, there are no more instances of restoration to mortal life. To depart out of the world and be with Christ is far better than to remain in it. So the resurrection for which we wait is that of the just at the appearing of Jesus Christ. When we believe in God who raises the dead, the first and chief reference is to his having raised up the slain Jesus (see Romans 4:24; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:15). This is in the very heart of the gospel, and this carries with it the sure and certain dickhead hope of the resurrection of" the dead in Christ." "God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power." The sentence of death which St. Paul had felt was not executed till years had passed; but it was well to be forearmed. Ere long, warned or unwarned, we all must endure death, if the Lord tarry. And before we die we may have to see the sentence carried out in others whom we love and for whom we must go mourning. There is no help in facing death but that which comes of faith; there is no comfort in regard to those who have endured it but in the belief that they are already with God, "breathers of an ampler day," and in the hope that he will raise them up complete and glorious at his coming. - F.

Parallel Verses
KJV: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

WEB: Yes, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead,

The Sanctifying Influence of Nearness to Death
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