God’s “Death” Benefits- 2Corinthians 4:13-17

We have seen Paul’s admonition to us that we die to self, and how God uses circumstances to bring that about. He doesn’t merely give this admonition and leave it at that, he continues on by telling us the benefits we will receive by allowing this process to transform us. He begins, in verse 13, by letting us know that participating in this process is an act of faith, we obey now trusting in God and His faithfulness that the outcome He has promised will certainly take place. We do so, in verse 14, because we know something. Know here is oida in the Greek, to know intellectually rather than experientially. We know God will raise us up with Jesus because He said so, and we therefore act upon this knowledge. Paul and his co-workers (the “we” mentioned here) participate in this process not only for their own benefit, but also for the benefit of those to whom they minister, serving as an example to them so that the grace of God which worked in their lives would also do so in those who follow their example. This would bring further glory to God as His kingdom is advanced in the lives of more and more people. Paul then, in verses 16-18, gives the result of our active participation in the process of dying to self, as well as the benefits we gain from it. The result is we do not “lose heart”, we do not give up and deny our Lord in the face of the tribulations of life, but press on toward the goal, for our outward “wasting away” produces a corresponding internal “renewal”. Paul does not stop there, however, for in verse 17 he tells us that the eternal benefits for our dying to self “far outweighs” the difficulties which are part of the process we participate in to bring it about. The Greek expression “far outweighs” here is hyperbolen eis hyperbolen, literally “abundance upon abundance”. Paul here stretches the Greek language to its limits in order to inform us of the greatness of the benefits we will receive for all eternity in return for dying to self now. In Paul’s attempt here to motivate us to die to self, he does not appeal to fear of punishment, to duty, gratitude or even love, he appeals to self interest. He urges us to die to self because it is ultimately a good investment, a good deal. May we all take him at his word (this is faith) and participate in the process of dying to self here and now, that we may reap the benefits he promises for all eternity, dying to self so that Christ may truly live through us. It is in this that we truly “live” ourselves, for the eternal glory we achieve through our participation in the process of dying to self far outweighs any “cost” here and now.

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