for the Saints
Testimonial & Didactic
Misunderstanding & Explanation
Ministry & Exhortations
Apostle's Solicitation for
Ephesus to Macedonia:
Change of Itinerary
Macedonia: Preparation for Visit to Corinth
Certainty and Imminence
of the Visit
Jensen's Survey of the New
Wilkinson's Talk Thru the Bible
First read the context of this great
chapter in Second Corinthians...
2Co 4:1 Therefore, since we have this
ministry (from chapter 3 this is a reference to the Better Covenant, the New
Covenant), as we received mercy, we do not lose heart (ekkakeo),
Comment: Jesus' commission to Paul
to be a minister of a new and better covenant was one of the reasons he did
not grow discouraged in spite of seemingly overwhelming odds.
Paul presents us a great example in
crediting the mercy of God for the effectiveness of his ministry. We may be
saved by grace but we still have the rotten flesh which loves adulation and
praise and recognition. It loves to take credit for a "job well done!"
Paul's testimony should cause us all to pause (frequently) to take inventory
on whether His New Covenant ministry has been replaced by "our" ministry. Anything we do by grace
is a reflection of God's infinitely inexhaustible mercy, for none of us
knows the depths of the evil of our flesh which colors even our motivations for ministry. Thank God for His mercy. Without it none of us
would have any eternal efficacy in ministry.
Paul's editorial use of the first person
plural ("we") renders this section directly applicable to all true
ministers of the Gospel of grace (which is all believers).
Colin Kruse: In 2Co 4:1 Paul said
that he does not lose heart, because he realized the greatness of the
ministry upon which he was embarked. In 2Co 4:16-18 he says he does not lose
heart, because while afflictions affect the outer man so that it wastes
away, his inner man is being renewed every day. (Tyndale
Commentaries - 2 Corinthians: Colin Kruse. IVP, 2008)
2Co 4:2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame
(secret thoughts, feelings, desires and underhandedness -- methods and arts
that men hide through shame), not walking in
craftiness (using clever trickery and cunning with an evil motive) or adulterating
(watering down in a deliberate attempt to ensnare and corrupt by an
admixture of error to [probably mixing law and grace]) the Word of God, but by the manifestation
(clear, candid declaration of truth open to all) of
truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
Comment: Paul contrasts the
craftiness of the false teachers and their misrepresentation of the Word of
Truth by adulterating it with error.
HCSB Study Bible: False teachers
are recognized both by wrong motives (deceit) and the wrong message (distorting).
True teachers are recognized by true motives and by "the faith that was
delivered to the saints once for all" (Jude 1:3). There is no secret tier of
truth reserved only for those who have been initiated into its secrets. (HCSB
2Co 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled
(covered over - as discussed in 2Co 3:14, 15, 16), it is veiled to those who are perishing
(because they would not turn to the Lord in belief, which results in removal
of the veil - 2Cor 3:16)
2Co 4:4 in whose case the god of this world
(Satan - 1Jn 5:19, Jn 12:31, 14:30, Ep 2:2 - mentioned 2 other times in this
epistle - 2Co 2:11; 6:15; 11:3) has blinded the minds of the
unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of
Christ, who is the image of God (Col 1:15).
Comment: Note that because these
souls refused to believe the Truth about God, God gave them over to the
authority of Satan who was given the power to blind their thoughts. We must
pray for God "to open their eyes (even as a blind person cannot see glory of
the sun, without God's enablement, no blind sinner can see the Gospel of the
Son), and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan
to God" (Acts 26:18, cp Col 1:13,14). If you are "toying" with believing,
don't put it off, for today is the day of salvation.
2Co 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves
(as the false teachers accused him of doing) but Christ Jesus as Lord (1Co
1:18, 19, 23, 2:2, "Lord" - Ro 10:9, 10, 1Co 12:3, Col 2:6), and ourselves as
your bond-servants for Jesus' sake.
Comment: Note Paul's reciprocal
use of Lord or Master (kurios)
and himself as His bond-servant (doulos).
MacDonald: "In this one verse we
have both the poorest theme for a preacher, and the best theme. The poorest
theme is ourselves, while the best theme is Christ Jesus the Lord."
2Co 4:6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness,"
(Ge 1:3) is the One who has
shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the face of Christ (ie, that Christ is God incarnate, to know Him is to
know God - Jn 1:14,18; Heb 1:3).
Comment: In the first creation God
commanded the light to shine, but in the re-creation, God Himself shines
into our hearts! (cp Col 1:13-note)
God is the "Initiator" in both. The chaos of the physical and spiritual
darkness (Ge 1:2; Jer 4:23) is changed by God's light (cp Jn 1:5, 8:12).
HCSB Study Bible: "Light" given by
God results in the human response to "gospel/knowledge" which in turn
results in "glory of Christ/God's glory" being admired.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure
(this light and power that now shines within us ~ the divine Light of
the Gospel, cp the "more...glory" of the New Covenant 2Co 3:8) in earthen vessels
(clay pots, cheap, breakable, replaceable, albeit necessary for normal
household function), that the surpassing
greatness of the power (dunamis
[word study]) may be of God and not from ourselves;
Comment: Jars of clay (such
jars could be easily purchased in Corinth and cheaply replaced if broken)
was a well known ancient figure of speech descriptive of human weakness. The
weakness of Christ's bondservants serves to magnify His power. The fragile
nature of the clay pots which God chooses to use as His instruments () also
introduces the following passages that recount Paul's sufferings in the
power of Christ. The more common, mundane and humble the vessel, the
more glorious the precious treasure appears!
Plummer “The power is limitless,
but it is stored in very unlikely receptacles.”
Hudson Taylor said "All God's
giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned
on Him being with them."
Wiersbe: The important thing about
a vessel is that it be clean, empty, and available for service. Each of us
must seek to become "a vessel unto honor, sanctified [set apart], and meet
for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work" (2Ti 2:21). We are
vessels so that God might use us. We are earthen vessels so that we might
depend on God's power and not our own.
2Co 4:8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not
2Co 4:9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck (knocked) down, but not destroyed
Comment: The first element of each
pair characterizes frailty of humanity, especially in man's service to God.
These two passages are the first of four lists of Paul's sufferings in 2
Corinthians (2Co 4:8, 9; 6:4, 5, 8, 9, 10; 11:23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28;
Four contrasts (all
= picturing continuing action) each of which demonstrates the weakness of
the clay pot (Paul) on one hand and the power of God on the other hand, each
of which contributed to the argument that Paul was a true servant of God and
strongly rebutted his adversary's' false charges.
New Bible Commentary paraphrase:
“Hemmed in, but not hamstrung; not knowing what to do, but never bereft of
all hope; hunted by men, but never abandoned by God; often felled, but never
Illustration - A boy and his father were in the toys section of a
department store. The little boy began to play with the inflated rubber man
which was weighted in the base so it stood upright. The boy hit it from
every direction. Yet no matter how hard or from which direction he hit the
rubber man, it still came back to its original position. The boy exclaimed,
"Someone must be living inside him." As Christians we are like this rubber
man. We have Christ inside us so that though we are pressed from every side,
we are not crushed; though we are perplexed, we are not in despair; though
we are persecuted, we are not abandoned; though we are struck down, we are
not destroyed because Jesus is in us and we are to able to get back up.
2Co 4:10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the
(resurrection) life of
Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
Comment: Paul was in danger of
losing his life every moment because of his ministry.
This refers to Paul's ongoing suffering
and summarizes the 4 contrasts, each of which was in a sense "carrying
about...the dying of Jesus", suffering for His sake. On the other hand, the
phrase "the life of Jesus" pictured the Lord's power to keep him from being
crushed, despairing, forsaken or destroyed.
H A Ironside: It was Arthur T.
Pierson, I believe, who when visiting George Mueller asked him, "Mr.
Mueller, would you be willing to tell me the secret of your great work and
the wonderful things that God has done through you?"
Mr. Mueller looked up for a moment, and then bowed his head lower and lower
until it was down between his knees, and he was silent a moment or two, and
then said, "Many years ago there came a day in my life when George Mueller
died. As a young man I had a great many ambitions, but there came a day when
I died to all these things, and I said, ‘Henceforth, Lord Jesus, not my will
but Thine,’ and from that day God began to work in and through me."
General Booth expressed it in a different way. J. Wilbur Chapman said to
him, "Will you tell me the secret of the great work that you have
He said, in his straightforward way, as he looked right into the face of
Doctor Chapman with that eagle eye of his, "Dr. Chapman, when I was a lad of
seventeen, I determined that God should have all there was of William
That is it! When I come to the place where I am through with my own
ambitions, when I can say, "None of self, but all of Thee," I understand
what Paul means when he talks about "Bearing about in the body the dying of
the Lord Jesus."
2Co 4:11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over
(like a prisoner to the executioner, cp 2Co 1:9) to death for Jesus'
sake (1Co 15:31), that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh
Comment: Continues the thought
from verse 10. Paul acknowledges the reality that any of his daily
trials could have result in physical death (and finally did result in his
martyrdom). However, through his weaknesses and sufferings (see who God uses
- 1Co 1:26, 27, 28, 29), Christ's resurrection power and life in Him (cp Gal
2:20) was put on display and became instrumental in bringing spiritual life
to the Corinthians.
Even as a precious stone is best seen
against a black background, the precious life of Christ in us the hope of
glory (Col 1:27) is best seen against the dark background of death.
2Co 4:12 So death works in us, but life in you.
Comment: Us is an
editorial addition which refers to Paul himself. Paul's example of suffering
was meant to bring about the same resurrection life in the saints at
Corinth. The paradox of physical suffering, yielding spiritual life. (cp 2Co
1:5, 6 - similar thought in Ep 3:1, Col 1:24, 2Ti 2:10).
J H Jowett said "Ministry that
costs nothing, accomplishes nothing."
Warren Wiersbe put it this way
"The test of a true ministry is not stars, but scars." (cp Gal 6:17)
2Co 4:13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I
BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE," we also believe, therefore also we speak;
Comment: The meaning of spirit is
felt by a few to be the Holy Spirit, but most interpret as reference to the
same kind of spirit the psalmist possessed (he is quoting Ps 116:10 in the
an attitude or outlook of faith.
The point of Paul's quote from Ps 116:10
is that trust in the Lord motivates a person to action ("we...believe...we
2Co 4:14 knowing (fully confident,
full assurance derived of faith, a hope [certainty] of the future bodily
resurrection - this future hope sustained Paul in present
trials) that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus (Jn
and will present us with you (alluding to our future glorious reunion at the
resurrection at the presentation of the "Bride", the Church, to Christ).
Comment: Paul was sure of ultimate
victory, for Jesus had conquered death (1Co 15:54, 55, 56, 57). Someone has
well said that until you are prepared to die, you are not really prepared to
Barnes: In the hope of the
resurrection they were ready to meet trials, and even to die. Sustained by
this assurance, the apostles went forth amidst persecutions and opposition,
for they knew that their trials would soon end, and that they would be
raised up, in the morning of the resurrection, to a world of eternal glory.
2Co 4:15 For all things are
(taking place in 2Co 4:8-12) for your sakes (designed to promote your
salvation, all that Paul had endured was for the benefit of the Corinthians), that the grace which is spreading to
more and more (through the majority) people (through the Gospel Paul
preached - see note below) may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory
of God (as more came to know Christ as Savior - God would get the glory, not
Comment: Paul had faith that God
would be glorified in all that was taking place. Our sufferings are never
wasted in God's economy (see Ro 8:28). Note also that what begins with
grace, leads to glory (Ps 84:11, 1Pe 5:10).
The first purpose stated is that Paul
suffered for the good of the people. His suffering resulted in the people of
Corinth hearing the Gospel and being saved.
Grace in this passage could also refer to
the power of God which was conferred on Paul to enable him to live
victoriously even in the face of his many afflictions, and that his same
power was extending to more and more members of the church at Corinth. Most
favor the spread of God's grace indicating that more people were being
John Butler Outlines this last
section of chapter 4 as follows...
The Purpose of His Sufferings -
For the good of the people - 2Co 4:15a
For the glory of God - 2Co 4:15b
The Persistency of His Service - 2Co 4:16
The Product of His Trials - 2Co 4:17,18
--The Valuing of the Trials - 2Co 4:17
--The Vision for Trials - 2Co 4:18
John MacArthur introduces this
last section of chapter 4...
All Christians can learn from Paul’s
example how to endure the loneliness, disappointment, pain, and persecution
they face. It was his vision of God’s glory revealed in the face of Jesus
Christ (see the discussion of 2Co 3:18–4:6 in chapter 9 of this volume) that
radically changed Paul’s perspective on life—including his sufferings. That
vision is the foundation for living a triumphant life; because of the
astounding realities of all that was his in Christ and the new covenant,
Paul could not lose heart. No amount of trouble could make him neglect his
calling, privileges, or duty.
Based on the reality of God’s glory
revealed in Jesus Christ and God’s mighty care in his life, Paul gives three
heavenly reasons for earthly endurance in 2Co 4:16-18; three principles that
enabled him not to lose heart. He exhorts believers to value spiritual
strength over physical strength, value the future over the present,
and value eternal realities over temporal realities.
J: 2Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press
THEREFORE WE DO
NOT LOSE HEART: Dio ouk egkakoumen, (1PPAI): (we: 2Co 4:1 Ps
27:13 119:81 Isa 40:29 1Co 15:58)
The Psalmist shows the power of a hopeful
future (similar to what Paul describes)...
Psalm 27:13 I would have despaired
unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land
of the living.
term of conclusion)
- He has just described the hope of the resurrection (2Co 4:14), the spread
of grace (salvation and spiritual welfare of the saints at Corinth) and the
fact that God was being greatly glorified (2Co 4:15) and these truths
undergirded him and held him firm. May we hold fast to the Word of truth
that it might hold us fast when the winds of adversity and testing begin to
Paul is explaining why he is able to
minister and preach as he does (in face of such afflictions).
Ralph Martin explains
The connecting dio (therefore) gives the
reason for Paul’s indomitable spirit. Earlier he reflected on God’s mercy
shown to him; here it is the recall of God’s power in raising Jesus from the
dead. These articles of faith bolster him in a testing time.
Not (ouk) signifies
absolute negation. Paul was not boasting but was expressing confidence in
the good promises of God even when things did not "look good" or "feel
good". With a series of dramatic contrasts in this section, Paul explains
why he does not lose heart. The practical application is clear -- believers
today who are being afflicted for their faith need to focus on the future to
facilitate present living.
The Apostle now returns to the topic
he has already introduced (2Co 4:1). But the digression, if indeed it be a
digression, only tends to strengthen the assertion he has made. 'We faint
not,' he says, 'not merely because we have a glorious ministry (2Co 4:1),
not merely because we have the knowledge of God (2Co 4:6), not merely
because, though oppressed and afflicted ourselves, we see the blessed
results of our ministry in others, but because (cf. 2Co 4:10, 11) our
sorrows and sufferings, the decay of our mortal body, are but external.
There is a spring of life within that can never fail (cp Jn 7:38, 39), the
new life, which comes to us from God through Christ. (Cambridge
Paul began the chapter (2Corinthians
4:1) by declaring since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we
do not lose heart. But in the chapter, he describes all the death-like
sufferings he has to endure in the ministry. It is as if Paul is
anticipating the question, "how can you not lose heart?" Therefore is part of the answer, because it points us back to what Paul
has just said. Paul has just explained that his "death-like trials" made for
more effective, life giving ministry for the Corinthian Christians. Knowing
that made him not lose heart in the midst of trials and suffering.
Another reason why Paul does not lost heart is because
though all his suffering takes a toll on the outward man, yet the inward man
is being renewed and blessed! Outward man has the same idea as earthen vessels in 2Co 4:7 and
mortal flesh in 2Co 4:11. The message is the same: "On the
outside, we are suffering and taking a beating. But on the inside, God is
blessing and renewing us!" (2 Corinthians
4 - David Guzik Commentary)
The best of men would faint, if they did
not receive mercy from God. And that mercy which has helped us out, and
helped us on, hitherto, we may rely upon to help us even to the end.
We do not lose heart - become
discouraged, exhausted and worn out through fear, utterly spiritless. Paul
was human and earlier had written "we were burdened excessively, beyond our
strength, so that we despaired (extreme despair, implying both anxiety and
fear) even of life." (2Co 1:8). Every believer is prone to lose heart from
time to time -- it therefore behooves all of us to ingest and mediate on
Paul's words in this great section.
Geoff Thomas (sermon)
sees three main reasons Paul did not lose heart...
1. We Do Not Lose Heart because We are
Being Daily Inwardly Renewed.
2. We do not Lose Heart because Our
Troubles Achieve an Eternal Weight of Glory.
3. We Do Not Lose Heart Because Our Eyes
are Fixed on What is Unseen and Eternal.
Recall the last words of the great
preacher of the Great Awakening, George Whitefield, the night
before he died in 1770
Lord Jesus, I am weary in Thy work, but
not of Thy work. If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak
for Thee once more in the fields, seal Thy truth, and come home and die.
[egkakeo, enkakeo] from ek
= out of or intensifies meaning + kakós = bad) literally means to give in to evil. It can convey
the idea of to become weary in or tired of doing something, and can convey
the idea of losing one’s motivation in continuing a desirable pattern of
conduct. Instead the person becomes fainthearted or despondent in view of
the trial or difficulty. Such persons are at risk of losing their
motivation to accomplish their intended goal. Ekkakeo
conveys the idea of becoming exhausted, giving up, turning coward.
Ekkakeo is a strong Greek term
which refers to abandoning oneself to cowardly surrender. Our redemption is
drawing nigh - take heart! Don't quit running the race, fighting the good
fight of faith.
writes that ekkakeo
is also used in the papyri in the sense
of treating someone badly. It became a Christian technical term expressing
the unflagging pursuit of the goal of service to neighbor, or of apostolic
ministry, as well as the tautness of the determined heart that does not let
up or lose courage. (Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New
In the other 5 uses of
ekkakeo (no uses in the
the Spirit instructs us not to lose heart about several things...
Prayer (Of prayer to which the
answer seems deferred)
Luke 18:1 Now He was telling them
a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose
Tribulations on behalf of the saints...
Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for
they are your glory
(In view of the danger of failure in
perseverance or temptation to laxity)
Gal 6:9-note And
let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if
we do not grow weary.
A T Robertson comments: "It is
curious how prone we are to give in and to give out in doing the good which
somehow becomes prosy or insipid to us"
2Th 3:13 But as for you, brethren,
do not grow weary of doing good.
Serving (Of the ministry of the
word in purity, without adulteration 2Co 4:2)
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do
not lose heart
John Piper rightly notes
The apostle Paul wrestled as much as
anybody with the temptation to lose heart because of the wasting away of his
body. He strengthened his heart with truth about the future grace of dying.
And he wrote it down so that we might follow him....The first part of his
answer is in 2Co 4:16...He doesn’t lose heart because his inner man is being
renewed. How? The renewing of his heart comes from something very strange:
it comes from looking at what he can’t see (2Co 4:18)...This is Paul’s way
of not losing heart: looking at what you can’t see. What did he see? A few
verses later in 2Co 5:7, he says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” This
doesn’t mean that he leaps into the dark without evidence of what’s there.
It means that the most precious and important realities in the world are
beyond our physical senses. We “look” at these unseen things through the
gospel. By the grace of God we see what Paul called “the light of the gospel
of the glory of Christ who is the image of God” (2Co 4:4). We strengthen our
hearts—we renew our courage—by fixing our gaze on the invisible, objective
truth that we see in the testimony of those who saw Christ face to face. (Future
Grace - The Purifying Power of Living by Faith in Future Grace )
I read recently about a man in Bucharest, Romania, who was severely beaten
by an anti-Christian mob. When Good Friday came, he showed up at church
still bearing his bruises and the marks of the beating. As he described what
happened, he also described how he had decided to pray about the incident.
He told his friends that while he could not in good conscience pray for an
end to suffering, he had learned to pray this simple prayer: “Lord, give me
the strength to go on.”
Not long ago, I read an article by a man who had married the woman of his
dreams, but one day the police showed up at his door with the heart-stopping
news of her murder. It took a long time for him to begin working through his
loss, but he had finally written the article on the subject of grief
management that I was reading, and the title of the article was: “The
Strength to Go On.”
As I prepared this message, I read a newspaper article about a woman in
Jackson, Tennessee, whose little baby had died from a rare disease. She has
since become a counselor helping couples who face such losses, and she told
“When it happens, you feel like you can't go on. But God gave
me the strength to go on. I feel like God has given me that way to help
other people live with it. That's kind of my mission — to help other people
go on, to deal with the loss.”
All of us come to a point in life when we aren’t sure we have the strength
to go on. But the Bible has very many passages for us when we feel that way.
The words strong, strength, and strengthened occur over 500 times in the
Bible; and today I’d like to show you a wonderful passage that talks about
the strength we need to go on—our daily strength. It’s found in the book of
2 Corinthians, which is the most autobiographical of all Paul’s writings. In
2 Corinthians he describes his hardships and heartaches in detail, telling
us about his whippings and beatings and fatigue and rejection. But overall,
the book doesn’t have a gloom-and-doom feel to it; it’s a triumphant book.
And in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, we find the secret as we come to another of
the Bible’s great day-by-day passages:
There are four dimensions here to finding the strength to go on, whatever
our circumstances in life.
The Onward Dimension -
First, notice the onward dimension of Paul’s everyday life. 2Cor 4:16
begins—Therefore we do not lose heart. The word therefore connects this
paragraph with the preceding one where Paul is talking about how he is cast
down but unconquered. Notice verses 2Co 4:8ff: "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…”
Paul’s life is beset by struggles and suffering on every side, but he has
made up his mind that he wasn’t going to lose his joy, his enthusiasm, his
exuberance, his victory, or his morale. In 2Cor 4:1, he declares: Therefore,
since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose
And here in 2Cor 4:16, in today’s text, he repeats himself: Therefore we do
not lose heart.
This is a very powerful phrase—we do not lose heart. Paul may lose sleep,
but he isn’t going to lose heart. He may lose friends, but he’s not going to
lose heart. He might lose earthly fame and prestige, worldly wealth and
comfort; he may even lose skin off his back and years off his life, but he
is determined not to lose heart. As long as he has the promises of God in
the Bible and the indwelling Spirit in his heart, he is not about to lose
The Greek word Paul used means to lose motivation, to become weary and to
become discouraged and to give up. He is saying, No matter how hard things
may be I am not going to lose my motivation, fall into discouragement, lose
heart, and give up.
This is pure, dogged determination, and this is commended in the Bible.
1 Samuel 17:31 says, “Don’t give up hope.”
2 Chronicles 15:7: “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your
work shall be rewarded.”
Psalm 143:3 says, “When I am ready to give up, He knows what I should do.”
Acts 18:9 says: “Do not be afraid, but keep on speaking and do not give up.”
Romans 12:11 says, in one translation, “Never give up. Eagerly follow the
Holy Spirit and serve the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 4:7 says in a modern translation: “Even when we don’t know
what to do, we never give up”
Hebrews 12:2-3 says: Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith
depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On
the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for Him, He thought
nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and He is now seated at the
right-hand side of God’s throne. Think of what He went through; how He put
up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become
discouraged and give up.
In Luke 18:1, Jesus said, “Always pray and not give up.”
Perhaps you’re facing some hardships in life right now and you feel like
giving up; but one the greatest secrets to the prevailing life is the
refusal to give up or to give in. The greatest leaders in human history and
in the world of sports and athletics have all had one thing in common—they
refused to give up even when things were grim.
Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, the famous American war hero, once explained his
victories and successes by saying:
My mother, a very poor woman in Columbus,
Ohio, taught her kids to pray, to read the Bible, to follow Jesus Christ and
never to give up.
Alabama coach Bear Bryant said:
Don’t give up at halftime. Concentrate on
winning the second half.
Michael Jordan said:
If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up.
Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.
Golfer Tony Lema said
If I had to cram all my tournament experience into
one sentence, I would say, “Don’t give up and don’t let up!”
That may be sports talk but that’s also Pauline theology. The apostle Paul
said, “Therefore we don’t lose heart. We don’t give up and we don’t let up.
We don’t allow adversity to neutralize our calling. We press on.” That’s the
attitude we’ve got to adopt if we’re going to finish our course having kept
BUT THOUGH OUR
OUTER MAN IS DECAYING: all' ei kai o echo hemon anthropos diaphtheiretai (3SPPI): (though: 2Co 12:15 Job 19:26,27 Ps
73:26 Isa 57:1,2 Mt 5:29,30)
Outer man - The material, physical
nature, our bodies. Note synonyms Paul
uses in this section - "earthen vessels" (2Co 4:7), "the
body" (2Co 4:10), "mortal flesh" (2Co 4:11), "earthly
tent...our house" (2Co 5:1), "this tent"
(2Co 5:4), "at home in the body" (2Co 5:6).
Murray Harris comments that in
using outer and inner man...
Paul is not thinking of two distinct
entities, "the body" and "the soul," but is considering his total existence
from two different viewpoints. His "outer man" is his whole person in his
"creaturely mortality" (J. Behm, TDNT, 2:699), the man of this age; his
"inner man" is his whole person as a "new creation" (2Co
5:17) or a "new man" (Col 3:9, 10), the man of the age to come.
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary - New Testament. Zondervan
NIV Application Commentary agrees
The correspondence between 2Co 4:1 and
2Co 4:16 makes it clear that "outer" and "inner" do not refer
to a dualistic body/soul dichotomy. Rather, they point to the moral
transformation of Paul’s life as a believer (his "inner self") in the midst
of his life within the suffering and sin of this present evil age (his
"outer self"). In both cases, the "inner" and "outer self" refers to Paul in
his entirety as one who lives eschatologically in this "overlapping of the
Application Commentary New Testament - NIVAC)
C K Barrett
Inward and outward man are not the
elements of a psychological dualism (of which hardly any trace is to be
found in Paul’s writing as a whole) but refer to the man of this age and the
man of the age to come (cf. the natural body and the spiritual body of 1Co
From one aspect, Paul as a whole is the
old man...subject to a thousand troubles and under sentence of death; from
another aspect, Paul as a whole is the new man, whose very being is Christ
(cf. Gal 2:20; Php 1:21), the heavenly man (1Co 15:47). The outward man can
only decay (for Paul’s word, diaphtheiretai, cf. 1 Cor. 15:42, 50,
53: phthora, phthartos), not simply because of such attacks as
are described in 2Co 4:8f. but because it belongs to a world that is passing
away (1Co 7:31). The inward man experiences constant renewal. ‘According to
the rabbinic notion, the ethical renewal of man belongs only to the future,
which alone can bring the promised new Spirit, or the new heart’ (S. B. iii.
600 f.); that is, the renewal Paul speaks of is an anticipation of
eschatology. For the verb to renew (anakainoo)
compare Ro 12:2-note
though here the thought is different. (Black’s
New Testament Commentary The Second Epistle to the Corinthians)
As Brian Bell says there is...
No need to fear the years, for they bring
him nearer, not to death, but to God! We are to focus not on the external
but the internal. (Ed: Not the temporal but the "eternal") (2
The psalmist Asaph says it this
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God
is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps 73:26)
Comment: Note the contrast between
temporal (flesh fails, either today but always in death) and
eternal ("forever") just as in this section of Paul's letter. Note the
focus -- not my self and my weakness but God and His strength, which is
always the best pattern. Flesh fails, but God does not fail.
Spurgeon says it well: After having been driven far out to sea,
Asaph casts anchor in the old port. We shall do well to follow his example.
There is nothing desirable save God; let us, then, desire only him. All
other things must pass away; let our hearts abide in him, who alone abideth
Paul echoes what all aging believers
know (or should know) and that is that there is comfort in the fact that
decay is accompanied by renewal. And yet the psalmist presents a excellent
prayer we would all to well to utter from time to time...
Do not cast me off in the time of old age. Do not forsake me when my
strength fails. (Ps 71:9)
Spurgeon comments: Alas for us, if
we were abandoned by our God, as many a courtier has been by his prince! Old
age robs us of personal beauty, and deprives us of strength for active
service; but it does not lower us in the love and favour of God. An
ungrateful country leaves its worn out defenders to starve upon a scanty
pittance, but the pensioners of heaven are satisfied with good things.
Do no forsake me - Bear with me, and
endure my infirmities. To be forsaken of God is the worst of all conceivable
ills, and if the believer can be but clear of that grievous fear, he is
happy: no saintly heart need be under any apprehension upon this point.
from dia = intensifies meaning + phtheiro = to ruin, corrupt,
spoil, shrivel, destroy, defile) (English = diphtheria) means to cause the complete destruction, to
destroy, corrupt or decay utterly (through and through so to speak), to rot
thoroughly, to ruin, to pervert utterly, perish. It always signifies a
change for the worse.
The Bible uses diaphtheiro
literally of physical corruption, destruction or decay (Re 8:9, 11:18,
Jdg 6:6Lxx) or figuratively of moral decay (1Ti 6:5, Jdg 2:19Lxx)
In the present context the literal
sense is used signifying a gradual bodily incapacitation and loss of one's
strength. In a sense we are "wasting away" in the aging process. Diaphtheiro is used of the worm or moth that eats
provisions. As noted in the 6 NT uses below, diaphtheiro can refer to
either physical or moral destruction. Keeping the context in mind, we need
to think first of the deterioration on Paul's body wrought by the many
hardships he has just described (eg 2Co 4:8, 9, also see
Paul's Living Martyrdom).
In other words, what brought about the deterioration of his body was the
cumulative effect of
his manifold sufferings.
signifies this process of
physical decay and deterioration is inexorable and unavoidable. The seeds of
decay and dissolution are in the body from birth. There is no
"fountain of youth" for the outer man, but there is one for the inner man!
For the believer the unavoidable truth of ongoing decay of the outer man is
lessened by the truth of a corresponding ongoing renewal of the inner man.
The New American Bible paraphrase picks up this association...
our inner being is renewed each day even
though our body is being destroyed at the same time.
Here the decay (diaphtheiretai) of the
bodily organism is set over against the growth in grace (anakainoutai, is
refreshed) of the man himself.
Albert Barnes on decaying...
Grows old; becomes weak and feeble; loses
its rigour and elasticity under the many trials which we endure, and under
the infirmities of advancing years. It is a characteristic of the "outer
man" that it thus perishes. Great as may be its rigour, yet it must decay
and die. It cannot long bear up under the trials of life, and the wear and
tear of constant action, but must soon sink to the grave. Notes on the New
Testament Explanatory and Practical.
Our outward circumstances of life are
very mean and despicable; we are oftentimes in a very distressed condition
through hunger, thirst, nakedness, and want of the common necessaries of
life; our bodies are almost worn out with fatigue, labour, and sorrow; our
earthly tabernacles are tottering, and just ready to fall in pieces
Diaphtheiro - 6x in 5v in the
NT, translated decaying(1), depraved(1), destroy(2), destroyed(1),
destroys(1). See also the related noun - diaphthora - decay - Acts
2:27, 31 13:34, 35,36, 37. Another derivative adiaphthoria is used once in
Titus 2:7 calling for young men to let their teaching have freedom from
corruptible mixtures or adulterations. The exhortation was not to mix in
teaching or doctrine (didaskalia)
with anything that would in any way corrupt and deprive Christian teaching
of its eternal value! Oh my, how pulpiteers need to heed this exhortation in
a day when truth is becoming more and more difficult to find in the very
place that should be the bastion and defender of Biblical truth.
Diaphtheiro - 59x in 56v in the
- Jdg 2:19; Jdg 6:5; 16:7, 16:8; 20:21, 25, 35, 42; Ru 4:6; 1Sa 2:25; 6:5;
13:17; 14:15; 23:10; 26:15; 2Sa 1:14; 11:1; 14:11; 20:20; 24:16; 2Kgs 8:19;
13:23; 18:25; 19:12; Ps 13:1; 52:2; 56:1; 57:1; 58:1; 74:1; 77:38, 45; Eccl
5:5; Mic 2:10; Nah 2:3; Zeph 3:7; Mal 1:14; 2:8; 3:11; Isa 49:19; Jer 5:26;
6:5, 28; 12:10; 13:7; 15:6; 27:45; 28:1, 25; Lam 2:5f, 8; Ezek 20:44; 23:11;
28:17; Da 7:19
Judges 2:19 But it came about when the
judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly (Heb =
shachath; Lxx = diaphtheiro - here used figuratively to describe the
decay in their heart, the character, their conduct) than their fathers, in following other gods to
serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or
their stubborn ways.
Judges 6:5 For they would come up with
their livestock and their tents, they would come in like locusts for number,
both they and their camels were innumerable; and they came into the land to
devastate ("devour" continues image of a locust plague) (Heb =
shachath; Lxx = diaphtheiro) it.
Jeremiah 6:28 All (speaking of faithless
Judah) of them are stubbornly rebellious, going about as a talebearer. They
are bronze and iron; They, all of them, are corrupt. (Heb = shachath;
Lxx = diaphtheiro in the
= describes their permanent
Here are the NT uses of diaphtheiro
Luke 12:33 "Sell your possessions and
give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an
unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys
Comment: Everyone can identify
with this portrayal of the destruction wrought by a moth on some fine suit
or dress -- it is usually ruined even though the holes may be small.
2Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not
lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man
is being renewed day by day.
1Timothy 6:5 and constant friction
between men of depraved (perfect
tense = speaks
of a the permanence of this condition, cp 2Ti 3:7, 8) mind and deprived
(passive voice = something pulled them away from the truth) of the truth,
who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
Comment: Note relation between a
depraved mind and a "deprived mind"! Their depravity is in accord with their
lack of truth.
John MacArthur: The external cause
of false teaching is satanic deception (cf.. 1Ti 4:1). The internal
cause, however, is the depraved or unregenerate mind of the false teacher.
“The mind set on the flesh,” writes Paul, “is hostile toward God” (Ro
8:7). Such a mind does not function normally in the spiritual realm; it
does not react normally to truth. Being natural men, false teachers cannot
understand the things of God, which seem foolish to them (1Co 2:14). As a
result, “God gave them over to a depraved mind” (Ro 1:28; cf. Ep 2:1,
2, 3; 4:17, 18, 19). Not having “the mind of Christ” (1Co 2:16),
false teachers can produce only error.
Revelation 8:9 and a third of the
creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships
Revelation 11:18 "And the nations were
enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged,
and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and
those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy
those who destroy the earth."
Comment: Here is God’s assessment
of modern environmentalism—which purports to radically care for the earth
while denying the Creator behind the creation and creatures which it panders
to. At the Second Coming, the condition of the earth has reached the
equivalent of the time of the flood where “the earth is filled with
violence” (Ge 6:13). This corruption was due to the great wickedness of man
in that “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil
continually” (Ge 6:5). This is the predictable end of unregenerate men once
the Restrainer is removed and the mystery of lawlessness reaches full flower
(Quoting from Henry Morris - The
Revelation Record) “The word ‘destroy’ is the same, actually, as
‘corrupt.’ Man had destroyed the earth by corrupting the earth, using
it not for God’s glory, but instead to satisfy his own greed and lust.”
Testimony of Jesus Christ - Revelation 11:18)
Plummer comments that...
In the case of the physical powers there
is a ceaseless wearing away, under the pressure of hard work, ill health,
anxiety, and persecution; in the spiritual powers there is a ceaseless
increase of strength. The one process, in spite of frequent Divine
deliverances, must end in death; the other, by Divine decree, ends in
eternal life. The force of the
must be preserved, ‘is
being destroyed,’ ‘is being renewed’..."How is it being renewed?"
asks Chrysostom, and replies, "By faith, by hope, by zeal.’ (2 Corinthians 4:16-18
--A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle of St. Paul to
the Corinthians. 1915. New York: Scribner)
Hughes notes that...
It’s axiomatic: our future hopes
determine how we live in the present. The question is: how are our
"futures"? What are you living for? It’s never too late to get it right.
Don’t waste your life. Aging and decay can be disheartening, and especially
so for those without hope of resurrection and transformation. The
Greco-Roman culture of Paul’s day gave voice to remarkable expressions of
despair. The Greek poet Aeschylus declared, "there is death once and for all
and there is no resurrection." The Roman Marcus Aurelius held that at death
all that is left is "dust, ashes, bones and stench." Very contemporary
expressions, are they not? (2Corinthians Power in Weakness)
Robert Morgan comments...
One of my favorite writers was a New Zealander named J. Oswald Sanders. He
died at age ninety just as he finished his last book, which was on the
subject of aging. In the introduction of that book he makes a very
interesting point. He says that it is possible to be realistic about aging
without being pessimistic and depressed. He said:
Realism and optimism with
regard to the aging process can sleep in the same bed.” (J. Oswald Sanders,
Enjoying Your Best Years: Staying Young While Growing Older (Grand Rapids:
Discovery House Publishers, 1993), p. viii.)
I know this is true based on my observations through the years....When it comes to aging, we have to be realistic, but we can either be
realistic/pessimistic or we can be realistic/optimistic.
Paul was realistic/optimistic, and his secret is in the next phrase and in
the next dimension of healthy living, the inward dimension (yet the inward
man is being renewed day by day). (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Our Daily Strength)
D E Garland has an interesting
parallel regarding Paul's description of the outer decaying and inner
His image is the exact reverse of the
plot in Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. In that story the
vain Dorian Gray has his portrait painted; and when it is finished, he
laments: “How sad! I shall grow old and horrible, but this picture never
will be older. If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that
was to grow old! I would give my soul for that!” He got his wish. The
portrait became a mirror of his soul, which showed every sign of evil and
aging. He locked it away to prevent the world from seeing the truth about
himself and deceived others with an outward appearance of one who was young,
pure, and handsome. The contrast between the loathsome, evil, and wrinkled
visage on the canvas fed by mad, ravenous passions, and his exquisite
outward appearance grew more stark every day. (The
New American Commentary. page 241. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers)
Henry Martyn had the right
attitude toward the inevitable decline of our physical state...
If I am going to burn out, let me burn
out for God.
H A Ironside on the outer man
The outward man perisheth. How well we
know that! What is the outward man? It is the physical man, the body, and
many of us realize that the outward man is perishing. There is not the
elasticity in the step that there used to be, there is not the physical
vigor that there once was. We tire a great deal more easily than we did some
years ago. We do not remember things as well as we once did.
YET OUR INNER MAN
IS BEING RENEWED DAY BY DAY: all' o eso hemon anakainoutai (3SPPI) hemera
kai hemera.: (inner: Ro 7:22 Eph 3:16 1Pe 3:4) (being
renewed: Ps 51:10 Isa 40:31 Ro 12:2 Eph 4:23 Col 3:10 Titus 3:5) (day
by day: Lk 11:3)
LIVING BY FAITH
A RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
2Corinthians 4:16-18, 5:1-9
Building from God
Life (2Co 5:4)
By faith (2Co 5:7)
At home in body
Away with the Lord (2Co
Yet (alla) introduces a
refreshing "change of direction", a conspicuous contrast, so that instead
of outer decay God
offers us the sure hope of inner spiritual renewal. This caused Paul
to put his problems in proper perspective, allowing him to keep on keeping
on. A good perspective of our present passing life is necessary for good
Christian service and will keep us going when (not if) the path becomes
rough and perilous.
As our body, through pain and disease, is
constantly sinking towards the grave, here is our continual
consolation,-that our inner man is renewed day by day.
Inner man - the inward,
nonphysical, spiritual self. The redeemed man. The Spirit-supported self. Synonyms in this
section - "a building from God, a house not made with hands" (2Co
5:1). Compare "the hidden person of the heart" (1Pe 3:4-note).
Not only is Christ in us (Col 1:27-note), but our now "life is hidden with Christ in God."
Paul uses a similar expression in Romans
where he declares...
For I joyfully concur with the law of God
in the inner man, (Ro 7:22-note)
Adam Clarke says the inner man
which cannot be felt or seen by others,
is renewed—is revived, and receives a daily increase of light and life from
God, so that we grow more holy, more happy, and more meet for glory every
H A Ironside on the inner man...
The inward man is...the real man,
regenerated by the power of the Holy Ghost. The body gets weaker and weaker,
but the inward man gets stronger and stronger. The nearer we get to heaven,
the more real the precious things of the Lord become to us. I think Bunyan’s
picture is a very lovely one. He saw the aged saints lying on the shores of
the river of life in the land of Beulah, and they could get glimpses every
now and then of the glory of the celestial city. At times they could
actually see the shining ones from the other side, and at others they
thought they could even hear the voices of the saints and their songs of
praise. I think the aged know much of that. God’s saints who have lived for
Him through the years, and now have gotten very close to the end of this
life, already seem to get the sounds and sights from the celestial city
yonder to which they are going; and be assured that these things will become
more and more real to you the closer you get to the end. "At eventide, it
shall be light."
OLDER ON THE OUTSIDE
YOUNGER ON THE INSIDE!
Being renewed - The process of
inner renewal parallels the ongoing process of external decay. Wuest
paraphrases it "being changed into a new kind of life (fit for the new
spiritual existence into which we have been ushered in salvation, and
constantly being conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus)" This process of
renewal begins with our new birth or regeneration and is consummated at our
The best commentary on the strengthening
of the inner nature is found in the prayer of Ephesians 3:14, 15, 16, 17,
18, 19. There the inner nature is to be strengthened when by the Spirit it
is indwelt by Christ and rooted and grounded in the love of God. (Tyndale
Commentaries - 2 Corinthians: Colin Kruse. IVP, 2008)
ESV Study Bible comments that this
refers to the weakening of the physical
body in contrast with the strengthening of the spirit, and also assumes a
contrast between Paul’s life of suffering in this present evil age (his
outer self) and the moral and spiritual transformation of his life into the
image of God as seen in Christ (his inner self; see 2Cor 3:18).
Henry Alford - writes that renewal
our spiritual life, the life which
testifies the life of Jesus, even in our mortal bodies (2Co 4:11), is
continually fed with fresh accessions of grace.
Stanley cites a line attributed to
Michael Angelo: “The more the marble wastes the more the statue grows.”
Compare Euripides: “Time does not depress your spirit, but it grows young
again: your body, however, is weak” (“Heraclidae, ” 702, 703).
Of itself, suffering will not make us
holier men and women. Unless we yield to the Lord, turn to His Word, and
trust Him to work, our suffering could make us far worse Christians. In my
own pastoral ministry, I have seen some of God's people grow critical and
bitter, and go from bad to worse instead of "from glory to glory."
Barnes on being renewed...
Is renovated, strengthened,
invigorated. His powers of mind expanded; his courage became bolder; he had
clearer views of truth; he had more faith in God. As he drew nearer to the
grave and to heaven, his soul was more raised above the world, and he was
more filled with the joys and triumphs of the gospel. The understanding and
the heart did not sympathize with the suffering and decaying body; but,
while that became feeble, the soul acquired new strength, and was fitting
for its flight to the eternal world.
the internal hidden man of the
heart, the new man is in a prosperous condition; our souls are in good
health; the work of God is comfortably carried on in us; we have sweet and
repeated experiences of the love of God; we are growing in grace, and in the
knowledge of Christ; and, like the palm tree, the more weight is hung upon
it, the more it thrives; and, like the children of Israel in Egypt, the more
they were afflicted the more they grew.
Dan Mitchell writes that...
People who have walked with the
Lord many years have an inner beauty that transcends the transient beauty of
the flesh. Peter speaks of this when he admonishes women. "And let not your
adornment be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or
putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the
imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the
sight of God" (1Pe 3:3, 4). (AMG
21st Century Biblical New Testament Commentary - 2Corinthians - Grace Under
Caird explains this renewal
But it is a secret process, invisible
both to the outsider and to the believer himself, known only to faith. To
protect that faith from the encroachments of pride, which would turn
spiritual renewal into a human achievement instead of accepting it as a gift
of grace, God has provided that the process be concealed within an
‘earthenware vessel,’ a perishable body subject to pain and decay (2Co 4:7;
cp. 2Co 12:7, 8, 9). Those whose eyes are not on the seen and transient, but
on the unseen and eternal, can detect beneath the decay of the outer nature
an inner life which is being daily renewed (2Co 4:16–18). (G. B. Caird,
Paul’s Letters from Prison, New Clarendon Bible)
GOD designed your life as a Christian to
get younger on the inside as you get older on the outside.
from aná = back or
again + kainóō = to make new > from
= not recent but
qualitatively new and different) is used only here and in (Col 3:10-note)
and means literally to make new (in quality) again (in context we were made
in the image of God but fell, and are now be renewed into that image again
["ana-"]). It is to cause something
to become new and better or superior. In the present context Paul uses
anakainoo to signify that the believer's inner being is to continually (present
changed into a new quality or kind of life (that heretofore never existed),
which is in opposition to the corrupt, depraved state of the unregenerate
individual, a state which is continually "decaying" (spiritually).
Renewed is in the
which indicates our inner man is being acted upon by an outside power, the
supernatural power of God and especially the Spirit, as 2Co 3:18 and Ep
"Renewable Energy" is a catch phrase in our modern world. How it
should encourage all saints that our inner man is "renewable"!
The deposit of the Spirit within us sets in
motion a regenerative overhaul of the self that culminates in complete
transformation at Christ’s return (2Co 1:22; 5:5).
Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words...
The very image of God is being
restored in us (Ed: That's the sense of the preposition "ana-"
which means "again") as we grow in true knowledge of Christ (Col 3:10). All
of this is accomplished by what Titus called the cleansing of “rebirth and
renewal” (Titus 3:5-note,
anakainosis in Greek). Jesus taught that eventually all things would be
renewed (Matt. 19:28, paliggenesia in Greek). We, as believers, should look
forward to that spectacular day of renewal. (Holman
Treasury of Key Bible Words)
Anakainoo is used only one other time in the NT...
self (When? At the time of the new birth) who is being renewed to a
according to the
image of the One who
Anakainoo is in the
which indicates that we are "continually being renewed” to a
new quality of life, describing a process that will continue the rest of our
earthly days, a process with is essentially synonymous with progressive
sanctification, growth in holiness, gradual being conformed to the image of
God's Son, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus
indicates we are being acted upon by an outside power, the context
indicating that it is the supernatural power of God, the Holy Spirit Who
sanctifies us. Of course, the Word is that entity by which we are renewed
and progressively set apart (cp Jn 17:17). And thus once again we see the
vitally important role the pure milk of the Word has in the believer's
renewal and overall spiritual growth. In short - no intake of God's Word, no
growth spiritually (see 1Pe 2:2-note).
The noun form of anakainoo is
used by Paul in Romans to exhort the believers not to be continually
this world, but
be transformed (present
the renewing (anakainosis
- qualitatively and so a renewal which makes one's mind
different than it was in the past) of your mind, that you may prove what the
will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Ro 12:2-note)
comments on anakainosis in this passage: Thayer defines the
word, “a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better.” That is (in
Ro 12:2) the change of outward expression is dependent upon the renovation,
the complete change for the better of the believer’s mental process. This is
accomplished through the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who when
definitely, and intelligently, and habitually yielded to puts sin out of the
believer’s life and produces His own fruit. He does that by controlling the
mental processes of the believer. It is the prescription of the apostle. “Habitually
your behavior within the sphere and by
means of the Spirit, and you will positively not fulfil the desire of the
(evil nature) “ (Gal 5:16-note)
In Titus Paul also uses
us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in
according to His
by the Holy Spirit,
Comment: While some interpret the use of anakainosis in this passage
as a reference to the one time event of the new birth, others favor this as
indicating a continual renewing by the Holy Spirit, similar to the renewal
in 2Cor 4:16. Bishop Trench
writes that anakainosis refers to "the gradual (progressive,
lifelong) conforming of the man more and more to that new spiritual world
into which he has been introduced, and in which he now lives and moves; the
restoration of the divine image". W E Vine writes that in Titus 3:5
anakainosis refers to "the adjustment of the moral and spiritual
vision and thinking to the mind of God, which is designed to have a
transforming effect upon the life".
Paul asks the Father...
that He would grant you,
according (not a portion but proportionate) to the
to be strengthened with
power (dunamis) through
His Spirit in the inner man (Ep 3:16-note).
Comment: This passage
supports the premise that the Holy Spirit is the major effecter of renewal
of the inner man described here in 2Cor 4:16.
Richard Pratt explains that...
At the present time...a
paradoxical situation exists for followers of Christ. On the one hand, they
have believed the gospel and have been granted salvation. The Holy Spirit
lives within believers as the “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance”
- Ed: "view to the redemption" ~ glorification), bringing many
spiritual blessings into their lives. On the other hand, they have yet to be
granted full salvation, including the resurrection of their bodies at the
end of the age (Ed: See "day of redemption" ~ glorification in Ep
This is why Paul spoke of himself as decaying and being renewed at the same
time. As he waited for his physical existence to be renewed at the
resurrection, he took comfort and joy in the renewal of his inward
person by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. (Pratt,
R. L., Jr. Vol. 7: I & II Corinthians. Holman New Testament Commentary)
Paul alludes to the process of renewal of the inner man in 2Cor 3:18
we all, with unveiled face
tense = describes our
permanent state, one that had its inception the day we believed [veil was
lifted] and were born again, Jn 3:3, 5) beholding (middle
voice = signifies that we initiate this action and
participate in the benefits therefrom; present
tense = a continual
process) as in a mirror the glory of the Lord (His glory is shone in the
heavens Ps 19:1, but this refers to His glory as shown in His Word, cp Jas
1:23, 24, Jas 1:25), are being
passive voice = effect
exerted by the Spirit on our inner man as we behold the "mirror" of God's
Word; transformed = present
tense = a continual
process) into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the
I like the way the ancient sage
Charles Simeon (see
a fascinating biographical summary of Simeon by Dr John Piper)
describes the believer's continual renewal stating that...
our light will be progressive, advancing
like that of the sun, from its earliest dawn to its meridian height (cp Pr
4:18). This is the change which the Gospel has wrought on millions of the
human race: and that Gospel shall yet be found, by every true Believer, “the
power of God to the salvation of his soul.” (Ro 1:16-note
and 1Pe 1:9-note)
Homileticae - Man's Original and Present State - Ecclesiastes 7:29)
Found in Christ, I will not falter,
Faint, or fail to do His will.
Outwardly I’m growing weaker;
Inward, stronger still!
Day by day His Word renews me
With the Spirit’s inner flow
As I look at things eternal,
Not at things below
Inward, outward, onward, upward
As I ask Him to impart
Daily strength and hope eternal
To my trusting heart.
Robert Hughes writes that Paul...
experienced daily renewal of his inner
man, though his outer man was decaying (4:16). That amounted to a startling
description of resurrection taking place within a decaying corpse. Paul’s
critics, and the Corinthians as a whole, shared an all-too-high regard for
physical status and well-being. How could he ever have hoped to warm their
hearts to viewing the outer person as quite secondary to inner renewal?
Because, second, he also had a world view that linked affliction to eternal
glory. According to Paul’s view, the one who loses heart is the one who sees
suffering as an end in itself, rather than as a means to glory. He did not
look at "things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen" (2Co
4:18). That was the very perspective he labored to instill in the
Corinthians throughout this section (see 2Co 5:12). The various strands of
Paul’s thoughts were controlled by the central concept of what is unseen and
eternal: the glory of the Spirit (chap. 3), the pledge of resurrection (2Co
1:22; 5:5), and the new creation of the believer in Christ (2Co 5:17). (Everyman's
Bible Commentary Series )
How does this supernatural renewal take place? As the believer chooses to saturate his or her mind
with the abiding seed, the living and active Word of God (and obey the truth
imbibed), the Holy Spirit
progressively "renovates" the mind (not like remodeling of a house
but generating a brand new way of thinking) so that the way we see, think
and feel lines up more and more with the mind of God. We begin to see with
eyes of faith the eternal significance of temporal events.
The crucial ingredient in this mind renewal process
is regular ingestion of "everything that proceeds out of the mouth of
the LORD" (Dt 8:3,
"every word" in Mt 4:4, Why? see Lk 1:37ASV), cultivating an "infant like" attitude (see 1Pe 2:1-note for what you need to do to cultivate
this desire and give you an "appetite".) If you do not have
an appetite for God's Word, do a personal inventory with 1Pe 2:1 (Be honest)
so that you will...
- earnestly, intensely crave a command in the
= indicates this is NOT optional! Do this now. Without delay. It is vitally
important!) for the
("no additives", unadulterated,
nothing that would cause decay!)
milk of the
work, so that by it you may
in respect to
needs to cultivate a heart attitude like Job who affirmed...
I have not departed (withdrawn, ceased, removed myself) from the command of
His lips; I have
up, concealed or hidden = same Hebrew verb used in Ps 119:11
the words of His (God's) mouth more than my necessary food"!
Could Job's attitude
toward the Word in any way explain how he was able to persevere in the face
of such incredible testing?!
Look at the
- specifically notice the confidence Job expressed in the preceding passage
- Job 23:10-note.
How could he be so sure? Could Job 23:12 be the answer! Job's outer man was wasting away and yet with
eyes of faith, his inner man envisioned not the temporal but the eternal purposes
of God (cp Job 42:5, 6). Lord give us "Job like"
vision to see the eternal in the temporal.
If your mind is to be renewed...
book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall
= same Hebrew word in Ps 1:2-note) on it day and night,
so that you may be careful to do according to ALL that is
written in it (When you study the Bible "hit
or miss," you miss more than you hit) , for then you will make your
way prosperous (referring to spiritual wealth [~renewal of the inner man] not necessarily fiscal
prosperity) and then you will have success"
(because your mind is renewed) (Joshua
Inductive Study on the
Power of God's Word)
is a passage which was God's call to Joshua (and all believers) to think "Biblically", reading, assimilating, reflecting on
the Word of God, so that might we live "Biblically" in all we say and do. As
clearly stated in Joshua 1:8 (note)
a key element in this process is
which is so crucial to mind renewal but unfortunately is a
spiritual discipline which is seldom practiced by Christians today.
Now think with me for a moment.
Is meditation optional? Not really because reading the Bible without meditating on it is like eating without chewing!
It's not how many times you "go through" the Bible, but how many
Bible "goes through" you! One of the most productive ways to study the Bible for yourself is to learn
to read it
Intro to Inductive Bible Study).
In Isaiah 40 we see another
passage that alludes to the renewal of the inner man...
He (Jehovah) gives strength to the weary (cp outer man decaying), and
to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and
tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who
wait (see word study)
for the LORD will gain (Hebrew conveys idea of changing clothes,
taking off the old weaknesses and putting on the new inner strength from
God) new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run
and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary. (Isa 40:29, 30, 31-see
In Ephesians Paul exhorts the saints at
Ephesus to lay aside the old and to...
renewed (word study)
in the spirit of your mind (Ep 4:23-note)
Comment: Renewed is in the
passive voice indicating the effect
is from an external source (the Spirit) and the present
tense indicating that
this renewal is an ongoing or continual process
(cp, progressive sanctification, growth in Christlikeness, growth in
exhorts the believers in the church at Ephesus (and you and I in the Body,
the Church of Jesus Christ) to the lofty goal of continually allowing the
Spirit of God to renew the way they (we) think. This renewal is not only in
what one believes (which is vitally important), but is a belief which
transforms feelings, attitudes and behavior. Paul desires that we all
partake of this miracle of inner renewal which enables us to have a divine
perspective on this temporal, transient, visible, passing world (1Jn 2:17-note)
and the (spiritually) dead people (Ep 2:1-note)
passing their lives in emptiness and vanity (Ec 1:2, cp Ec 12:13,1 4). This
inner renewal is calculated to help us not grow weary and lose heart (Gal
6:9, 2Th 3:13, He 12:3-note),
even though our body is growing old and the spiritual battle rages fiercely
all around, even in our mind (cp Gal 5:16-note,
Beloved, let us press on...pressing ever upward (Php 3:14-note)
Peter Martyr dying, said, "My body
is weak, my mind is well, well for the present, and it will be better
hereafter." This is the godly man's motto. (John Trapp)
Paul understood the relationship
between suffering and sharing Christ’s death and His resurrection life,
declaring his desire to the saints at Philippi...
that I may know Him (Jesus) and the
power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being
conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection
from the dead. (Php 3:10, 11-note)
Day by day (hemera kai hemera
- see similar phrase in
on Lxx of Ps 68:20) - The promise is for
daily renewal and speaks of progressive sanctification as Paul has just
alluded to in 2Cor 3:18. Vincent remarks that
"day by day" is a Hebrew form of expression, but there is no
definitive correlate in the OT (cp Ge 39:20, Ps 68:20), and specifically
hemera kai hemera does not occur in the Greek Septuagint. Other
commentators suggest that this phrase is more probably a colloquial use of
the temporal dative, with the repeated hemera denoting repetition, "day
after day," or, as in the colloquial English expression "day in and day
out." The similar phrase "hemera te hemera" is used in Modern
Greek for ‘day by day’.
Barnes on day by day...
Constantly. There was a daily
and constant increase of inward rigor. God imparted to him constant strength
in his trials, and sustained him with the hopes of heaven, as the body was
decaying, and tending to the grave. The sentiment of this verse is, that in
an effort to do good, and to promote the salvation of man, the soul will be
sustained in trials, and will be comforted and invigorated even when the
body is weary, grows old, decays, and dies. It is the testimony of Paul
respecting his own experience; and it is a fact which has been experienced
by thousands in their efforts to do good, and to save the souls of men from
The renewal of humankind (after the new
birth)...proceeds gradually and is accomplished more quickly in some
individuals and more slowly in others.
To be like Jesus is our goal,
Though it doesn’t happen fast;
We trust the Spirit as our Guide
Till we’re glorified at last.
The conversion of a soul is the miracle of a moment;
the growth of a
saint is the work of a lifetime.
Alexander von Humboldt
There is a tree in South America called
the cow-tree. It grows on the barren flank of a rock that its roots are
scarcely able to penetrate. To the eye it appears dead and dried, but when
the trunk is pierced there flows from it a sweet and nourishing milk. This
is not unlike the Christian, who outwardly may appear to be withering and
dying but within possesses a living sap that is welling up to eternal life.
As Christians, we must live a day at a
time. No person, no matter how wealthy or gifted, can live two days at a
time. God provides for us "day by day" as we pray to Him (Luke 11:3).
He gives us the strength that we need according to our daily requirements
(Deut. 33:25). We must not make the mistake of trying to "store up grace"
for future emergencies, because God gives us the grace that we need when we
need it (He 4:16). When we learn to live a day at a time, confident of God's
care, it takes a great deal of pressure off of our lives.
Yard by yard, life is hard!
Inch by inch, life's a cinch!
Spiritual Reupholstering - When we
moved into our home 5 years ago, we discovered that the former owner had
left us six dining room chairs. They were covered with fabric of beautiful
African art—tasteful zebra stripes. We appreciated the unexpected gifts and
used them frequently when entertaining guests.
When we recently moved again, those chairs needed a makeover to match our
new decor. So I called an upholsterer and asked, "Shouldn't we just put the
new material over the existing fabric?" He responded, "No, you'll ruin the
shape of the chair if you just put new material over the old."
The work of God in our lives is similar. He's not interested in merely
changing our spiritual appearance. Instead, He intends to replace our
character with what is called "the new man," made in the image of Christ
(Ephesians 4:24). The flesh has a tendency to perform religious activity,
but this is not the work of the Holy Spirit. He will completely transform us
on the inside.
But the process is a partnership (Php 2:12-note;Php
As we daily lay aside our old behaviors and replace them with godly ones,
the God of grace works in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
God wants to reupholster us. —Dennis Fisher
(Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Dear Lord, You've given new life to me—
A great and full salvation;
And may the life that others see
Display the transformation. —Hess
When you receive Christ,
God's work in you has just begun.
Phil Newton commenting similar
use of anakainoo in Col 3:10 writes that Paul describes renewal as a
process which assures that the believer...
is being sanctified (Ed: being
made holy, being progressively, daily set apart from the profane and common
of this world and unto the Lord and for His use) by the Lord. Paul is not
speaking of something that might take place in the Christian. Instead, he
refers to the certainty and constancy of being renewed. Anakainoo
is (related to the) term that is used in Ro 12:2-note
(Ed: the cognate noun
when were are told to
= command calling for continual action -
what God commands, He always enables) by the renewing (anakainosis)
of your mind, so that you may prove (dokimazo)
what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
It implies a newness in quality that
keeps growing and changing and improving in the believer. When you come to
faith in Christ, you still have the same body with the same brain. All the
patterns of the past are etched in your mind. But as you grow in the grace
and knowledge of Christ (cp 2Pe 3:18-note),
a renewing process takes place. Those old patterns are gradually culled and
the newness of life in Christ fills your mind. This is the glory of
sanctification: that the Lord will work His grace in us, reproducing us
in the image of Jesus Christ.
The renewing affects the way
you think and what you understand about the Lord, his will, and his working
in your life. Colossians 3:10
calls it "a true knowledge." It could be translated as "a thorough
knowledge." It is intensive, life-changing knowledge that shapes the way you
live your life according to the pattern found in Christ. It is knowledge of
Him, which is why Paul declares that his whole passion is to proclaim Christ
How does this renewal take
place? We must recall the
words of our Lord in his high priestly prayer:
in the truth; Thy word is truth (John 17:17).
As we partake of God's Word, hearing
it, reading it, thinking upon it,
on it, digesting it and applying it, then the gradual work of sanctification
occurs. Certainly the Lord
uses other things in the sanctification process as in our trials, testing,
needs, relationships, etc. But foremost of all is the Word. That is why the
renewing that takes place is to a "true knowledge according to the image
of the One who created" us.If you are born of God, a
sure evidence of it is the sanctifying work of the Spirit in your life.
You have the assurance that the One who
began his work in you will complete it (Php 1:6-note).
Conclusion - This is
radical living. We must never
be satisfied with simply going to church each week but not living radically
for Christ in the balance of the week. Your union with Christ (see
demands a different lifestyle. May the Lord do His transforming work in each
of us. (Sermons
from the Epistle to the Colossians) (Bolding added)
Oswald Chambers has a devotional
entitled Continuous Conversion which touches on the subject of
the continual renewal of our inner man...
These words of our Lord (Mt
18:3) describe our initial conversion, but we should continue to turn to
God as children, being continuously converted (Ed: Used in the
sense of progressive, ongoing, daily sanctification) all the days of our lives. If
we trust in our own reasoning power, instead of God’s power, we produce consequences
for which God will hold us responsible. When God in His sovereign work
brings us into new situations, we should immediately make sure that our
natural life surrenders to the spiritual, obeying the orders of the Spirit
of God (Gal 5:16-note). Just because we have responded
to the Spirit once is no
guarantee that we will do so again. The relation of the natural to the
spiritual is one of continuous "conversion", but this is where we so often
refuse to be obedient. No matter what our situation is, the Spirit of
God remains unchanged and His salvation unaltered. But we must "put on
the new man . . ." (Eph 4:24-note).
God holds us responsible every time we refuse to "convert" ourselves (Ed
comment: This process of ongoing "conversion" is initiated and
empowered by God, even though we are called to work it out in fear and
He sees our refusal as willful disobedience. Our natural life must not
rule— God must rule in us.
To refuse to be continuously converted is a hindrance to the
growth of our spiritual life. There are areas of obstinate self-will in our lives
where our pride pours contempt on the throne of God and says, "I won’t
surrender my will." We in essence deify our independence and self-will and call them by the
wrong name. What God sees as stubborn, selfish weakness, we call "strength". There
are whole areas of our lives that have not yet been brought into
submission to the Lord, and this can only be done by continuous "conversion".
Slowly but surely we can claim the whole territory for the Spirit of
God (Ed: Although we will never attain perfection until the day
Thomas Watson comments that...
Like those two laurels at Rome—when the
one withered the other flourished.' When the body withers—the soul of a
Christian flourishes. How often have we seen a lively faith—in a languishing
body! Hezekiah was better on his sick bed—than upon his throne. When he was
upon his sickbed he humbles himself and weeps. When he was on his throne he
grew proud (Isaiah 39:2). God's children recover spiritual health, by
physical sickness. In this sense, 'out of weakness they are made strong'
(Hebrews 11:34). (Beatitudes)
By the 'outward man,' you are to
understand not merely our bodies—but our persons, estates, and outward
conditions in this world; and by the 'inward man,' you are to understand our
souls, our spiritual estate. Now, when the inward man gains new
strength by every new trouble, when as troubles, pressures, afflictions, and
tribulations are increased—a Christian's inward strength is increased also,
when his afflictions are in love. When the presence of God is with our
inward man, cheering, comforting, encouraging, strengthening, and renewing
of that, we may safely conclude that all these trials, though they are ever
so sharp and acute, yet they are in love. (Mute
Inner man - The spiritual man -
The spiritual life - Thomas Sherman (1680) writes...
The spiritual life, though a hidden,
is a real life. Those only deny it who are strangers to it. But that
there is such a life, is manifest from its vigorous actings. When natural
life is lowest, and the outward man perishing, there is the renewal of the
inward man, (2Corinthians 4:16.)
The reality of the spiritual life may be inferred:
(1.) From the high esteem the saints have of it; being willing to "bear in
the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be
made manifest in their mortal flesh," (2Co 4:10.) Not loving their natural
lives unto the death—if so be that they may preserve their spiritual life.
(2.) From the care also that they take to nourish it, by feeding upon that
living bread who came down from heaven, and gives life unto the world.
And as it is a real life—so is it also an excellent life—a life of the
noblest extraction. Those who partake of it are born from above—born of the
Spirit—born of God! It is also a life of the choicest endowments; giving
light to the understanding, rectitude to the will, spirituality to the
affections, and regularity to the whole soul.
It is a life also of the most exalted aims—having the enjoyment of God for
its chief good—and the living to God as its great end.
In a word, it is a life of the highest perfection, being the life of God—the
life of Christ; both head and members living one and the same life.
And as it is an excellent, so is it an enduring life; being "hid with Christ
in God;" that is, laid up and secured "in Christ" the head of all divine
influence; and "in God," the fountain of all spiritual life. If, therefore,
God has set up in your soul the light of reason, bless Him for that—but rest
not in it without the light of life, (Jn 8:12.) It is a mercy to be alive in
the world as a rational creature; but herein lies your happiness: to be made
"alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord," (Ro 6 11.) And though in
the world you may, with Christ, be despised and rejected by men—yet, "when
Christ who is your life shall appears—then shall you also appear with Him in
glory!" (Col 3:4)
Grace Abides - There is a pair of
famous bronze gates in the city of Florence, which Michaelangelo, in a burst
of admiration, declared were fit to be the gates of Paradise. They are
panelled with noble figures and dainty pictures. Once they were gilded, and
Dante referred to them as "The Golden Gates." But the centuries have worn
off the gold—so that hardly a particle is left now. Still the fine masterly
work of the artist abides in the solid bronze, looking none the less
impressive in its severe simplicity. So while the years may wear away many
meritorious accomplishments and much of the glitter of the natural life, the
graces firmly ingrained in our soul by the Great Master of all Arts and
Hearts will abide. No change can touch these, for "though our outward man
perish, the inward man is renewed day to day" (2 Cor. 4:16).
Geoff Thomas has a pragmatic
exposition of this passage...
The Christian lives in a universe of
contrasts. He lives in a visible creation and that is all he can see with
his physical eyes, but he fixes the eyes of his faith on an unseen eternal
world. He is body, but he is also soul. He once was old man under the
dominion of sin, he now is exclusively new man under the authority of
Christ. Yet this new man encounters within himself the power of remaining
sin - the 'flesh', but he is given victory over it day by day by the power
of the regenerating Spirit which is located at the very control centre of
this one new man. So within his own life the flesh and the spirit constantly
war one against the another.
Paul in our text conceives of the
Christian as comprising two distinct selves which concept is slightly
different from the flesh/spirit contrast. There is a reality which he refers
to as the outer self, and he means by that all that his body and mind and
affections are experiencing of the temptations and contaminations and
mortality of this present evil world.
THE INNER MAN
But he speaks also of the inner self and
he means by that all that he has become through being joined to Jesus
Christ. By this he is referring to his new status in Christ, his divine
resources and the energy of the Holy Ghost which is working mightily in him,
the redeemed and reborn child of God. By this impartation he has become a
partaker of the divine nature (2Pe 1:4).
So these two 'natures' or, better,
'selves' characterise every single Christian. What he is outwardly, and what
he is inwardly. The Christian can quote the words of the Lord Jesus and
apply them to himself, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," and
he cares nothing about charges men make that he has fallen into dualism. He
will be safe with the divisions the Lord himself has made. Yet the Christian
is one man. He is no spiritual schizophrenic. All the followers of Christ
live within these dynamics throughout their lives. They know that there will
never come a time while they are in the body when they will be exclusively
the inner man. On their last day on this earth they will be groaning because
they are still remain outer man as well as inner man, and on their death
beds there will be the spiritual warfare. But not for much longer!
When Paul looks at what he is
according to his outer self he realizes that he is wasting away. Of
course this is true physically. His body is getting older. He doesn't bounce
back so quickly when he has been laid low. His brain cells die and are not
being renewed. He is more forgetful. His eyesight is not what it once was.
He cannot walk as far in one day as he could. His body has been damaged by
all the sufferings he has endured for the sake of the gospel. Paul could see
that the work of the gospel was killing him. He was old long before his
time. He made no attempt to hide that from himself or others. He was a
broken man at an age when others were fighting fit. But he as to his outer
man was also exposed to fierce temptations. He finds within himself the
seeds of every sin - anger, jealousy, lust, greed, retaliation, bitterness,
self-pity, reluctance to pray, cowardice to speak and a spirit of
self-righteousness, so the evil that he would not do he finds himself doing.
The good he knows he should be doing he find himself avoiding. That is the
condition of every Christian. We are weak and dying men. We groan; we sigh;
we cry, "O wretched men that I am!" We experience a fight with
principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. We
have to pray, "Lead me not into temptation and deliver me from evil." The
believer often finds a thorn in the flesh troubling him. It throbs away. It
is a fearful distraction, so insignificant and yet so demanding of our
attention. Outwardly the Christian is wasting away, and you would think that
he must certainly lose heart.
But that is only half the story: "yet inwardly we are being renewed day
Every single Christian is also making
daily progress in the new life. His trust in God is stronger. His
convictions about the gospel are deeper. His wisdom in knowing himself and
the troubles of others is more profound. His resistance to sin is more
determined. Paul appeared to be a fading sick old man, but inwardly he was
being effectually transformed day by day. His youth was being renewed like
the eagle. Paul could remember clearly certain men and incidents from thirty
years earlier as if they had happened yesterday. He had memorized entire
sections of the Scriptures and could repeat them to old age. He could shrug
his shoulders at disease, decay and death and get on with the work of God.
When everyone else left him he knew the Lord was standing by him. "I can do
all things through Christ who strengthens me," he would say.
THE DAILY INWARD RENEWAL
OF THE INNER MAN
Now let us ask what are some of the
areas that Christians are being inwardly renewed day by day.
i] Trusting the Bible.
The young Christian reads the Bible
because God has created a desire within him to do so. You remember Mary
Jones walking to Bala in her bare feet to purchase her own copy of the
Scriptures in the Welsh language. She would have been fascinated by the
ministry she heard each Sunday which took her through chapters of the
Scriptures and which explained the teaching to her, and drew out lessons and
applications that she might have missed. So she longed for her own Bible and
finally got one from the hands of Thomas Charles himself. She would read a
passage and she would ask it questions: what does this tell me about God?
what promises does God make to me in these words? what duties does he
require of me? (Ed: See related topic
inductive Bible study)
The more she read the more she understood. She began to remember whether
certain statements were on the right or left pages of her open Bible, at the
top or bottom of the pages, left or right columns. And as she became
familiar with the Bible she grew in appreciation of its beauty and
perfections. "O how love I thy law!" (Ps 119:97) she would feel. Like the
psalmist in the first psalm her very delight was in the law of the Lord (Ps
1:2). Her knowledge of her Saviour and his great redemption was constantly
being renewed by her growing familiarity with the Bible.
The more she read the more she found
she could trust the Bible.
Even the prepositions of Scripture became
important to her. When she became an old lady keeping bees and selling the
honey (giving the money to the Bible Society) she still treasured the Word
of God. She lived by every word that had proceeded from the mouth of God
that is found in the Scriptures (Mt 4:4).
The Christian is inwardly renewed day
by trusting in the Bible.
ii] Learning Contentment.
We bring our own fallen personalities to
Christ. We are restless, frustrated, angry, discouraged, ambitious people.
It is not easy for us to become contented with the ways God deals with us.
There were the early simple answers to prayer in the provision of a sunny
day, or a ticket for the big game. Then God begins to test us - the delays,
the unanswered prayers, the heartache, the opposition, the falls. What
coldness of heart and unhappiness we discover within us. We want to plead as
an excuse for our restlessness our own special personalities and needs. We
say that we can't help acting as we do. Other Christians we judge to be more
docile while we are naturally fiery and leaders. We have vision. We are
dynamic. Let others be content to be foot-soldiers we would be generals.
Then God presses us with the duty of contentment with the chores He gives us
to do, where He sets us in life, what roles He calls us to fulfil, what the
mundane tasks and duties He sets for us might be. He teaches us to submit to
Him. He may let us have our own way, and then how painful an experience that
is. He enables us to look into the cup He gives us to drink and to say, "Let
this cup pass from me, nevertheless not my will but thine be done." (Lk
22:42) Increasingly we are renewed as we learn contentment with God's good
and perfect will (Ro 12:2).
iii] Evangelistic Earnestness.
During Paul's last imprisonment he was
still the world's greatest evangelist. He was conscious that the palace
guard had heard the gospel through his being in jail adjoining the palace in
Rome and that made his years in chains sweeter (Phils. 1:13). He wrote
letters counselling Timothy and Titus that indicated how alert he was to the
needs of their churches on Crete and in Ephesus. He never chafed at the
terms of the great commission. He was dying for men and women to be saved.
He said, "I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for
the sake of my brothers, those of my own race" (Roms. 9:3). That was his
spirit. It was purified and made more holy as he entered old age. So often
we see evangelism as the province of the young, but the young are not best
equipped for it. They are good followers but not good leaders. But do they
have examples to look up to in those who have been Christians for many
years? Are the old ones only full of warnings of wild evangelism than being
actual examples of true evangelism? Are those retired men rather cynical
about their own youthful zeal, that it was foolish and immature? Of course,
much of it was. But does that excuse those who have been known by God for
forty years never giving a word of witness, never inviting anyone to the
services, never praying for anyone personally to be converted. We are not
encouraged merely to criticise those ungodly aspects of what the world calls
'evangelism.' We only have the right to involve ourselves in every form of
Shouldn't the righteousness of God become ever brighter as the years of our
pilgrimage pass? Shouldn't God's love for sinners become increasingly
amazing to us? You could pick out two evangelistic sermons from Spurgeon's
ministry, one preached at the beginning of his ministry in 1856 and one
preached at the end in 1891 and it would be a challenge to tell which was
which. The same passion, the longing for men and women to be saved, the
freeness of the offers of grace, the pleading with sinners to come to Christ
was there at the end of his ministry as it was at the beginning. In all the
controversies he endured and the illnesses he bore so bravely the inner man
was being renewed in evangelistic earnestness day by day. Remember those
great last words of his hero, George Whitefield, the night before he died in
1770: "Lord Jesus, I am weary in thy work, but not of thy work. If I have
not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for thee once more in the
fields, seal thy truth, and come home and die."
iv] Victory over Sin.
There are certain sins that beset certain
Christians most easily. Perhaps you have a moroseness of spirit, a critical
attitude to others, a self-pity, a pride, a sharpness of speech, lust,
prayerlessness, self-importance, a mistrust of God's ways, a readiness to
speak but not a willingness to hear, a love of alcohol, rage, smugness, an
unforgiving spirit, a readiness to take offence, pompousness,
self-importance, a refusal to bear the burdens of the weak, a love of a high
position and an unwillingness to hew wood and draw water, a meanness, and so
on. The most fearful state a Christian can be in is when he turns a blind
eye to that very sin that so easily besets him. He refuses to acknowledge
that this is his own great weaknesses. Then what can be done? Must he carry
this sin with him to the grave? It will mar his testimony, and spoil his
usefulness. The salt will lose its savour. A shade will fall over much of
the light. Should not every Christian cry mightily to God that he discover
his own heart? "Show me myself!" Then his inward man will begin to be
renewed. Can we sing from our hearts Francis Bottome's hymn:
Search me, O God! my actions try,
And let my life appear
As seen by Thine all-searching eye -
To mine my ways make clear.
Can we sing these other anonymous words
from our hearts?
Show me myself, O holy Lord;
Help me to look within;
I will not turn me from the sight
Of all my sin.
Aren't those biblical sentiments? "A man
ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup"
(1Co 11:28). There might be a certain sin that is preventing us being used
by God as we could be. He cannot entrust us with a greater work because we
are already vain enough concerning the success of some little work. We are
not growing in knowledge because the small sum of knowledge which we do
possess has made us puffed up. God will not lead us into counseling because
he cannot trust us in personal relationships. Yes, we are fit and healthy in
so many aspects of the Christian life. We are responsible parents. We are
regular at the means of grace. We are orthodox in our faith, but in this one
area sin has the total mastery of our lives. How would you describe your
condition if in one area of your life, in one organ, or one limb, there were
some untreated disease? "I am a sick man," you would say, and you take no
comfort from the doctor point out to you all the other 99 parts of your body
that are perfectly healthy. If we are going to be renewed in the inner man
day by day then it certainly must be in this area of victory over that
personal sin. "Show it to us all, Lord! Grant that not one here shall go on
at this poor dying rate! Reveal to us what we are and take us to the Lamb of
God for confession and cleansing and to the Spirit of God for renewal. Give
us grace to mortify it by the Spirit and to look unto Jesus for strength."
So we slowly and steadily gain victory over the sin that so easily besets
us, but we are ever vigilant. That is another way the inward man is being
renewed day by day.
So there are these spheres of renewal, and no doubt there are many more. But
"outwardly we are wasting away" (2Co 4:16). There is absolutely no escape
from that. The older Spurgeon once described his feelings about this in
these words, "For my own part, I would have remained a young man if I could,
for I fear I am by no means improved by keeping. Oh, that I could again
possess the elasticity of spirit, the dash, the courage, the hopefulness of
days gone by! My days of flying are changed to those of running, and my
running is toning down to a yet steadier pace. It is somewhat cheering that
the Scriptures seem to indicate that this is progress, for such is the order
which it prescribes for saints: 'They shall mount up with wings as eagles;'
away they go, out of sight. In your first sermons, - how you mounted up!
Your first evangelistic efforts, - what flights they were! After that, you
slackened and yet improved your pace; but it grew more steady, and perhaps
more slow, as it is written: 'They shall run, and not be weary; and they
shall walk, and not faint.' God grant that we may not faint; and if our
running days are over, may we walk with God as Enoch did, till the Lord
shall take us home!" Spurgeon was conscious of the outward-inward dynamics
of the Christian life.
I was once sent a sweet booklet produced by the parents of a young woman
called Wendy Faith Moxham from Purley after her premature death at the age
of twenty-one. They loved her daughter, and her last years had been a grand
testimony to the sustaining strength of her Saviour providing his own
comfort to her. People encouraged them to write about her faith in Jesus.
The power of the words of our text were being worked out day by day in her
own experience as a young woman. Her body was wasting away but she was being
inwardly renewed. Wendy kept a little "Quiet Time" book and in one of her
last entries she wrote these words which seem to sum up Paul's teaching
It is wonderful to know that whatever the
circumstances, they are all in God's almighty hand. However depressed I
feel, I still feel the firm Rock beneath me, which gives me inward peace.
Those simple and sweet sentiments from a
dying girl prove exactly this truth of what Paul is saying here. In every
single one of God's own people, "inwardly we are being renewed day by day".
It is happening. Inward renewal is effectual in all the elect. It does not
hang upon some Christian 'secret' of gaining the victory. God has made up
his mind that his servants will be changed from one degree of glory to
another by the Spirit. It must happen, and as we look ahead we must do so
with great confidence. When we feel that our Christian life is going round
in circles we must say to ourselves that God has promised us inward daily
renewal, and we must look for every indication that this is happening and
thank him from our hearts.
So the first foundation which delivers us from losing heart is to
acknowledge that though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are
being renewed day by day, and that we ensure that this is happening. (THE
FOUNDATIONS FOR CHRISTIAN ENCOURAGEMENT)
Waiting for Holiness - The
British novelist J. R. R. Tolkien wrote,
Sheep get to be like their Shepherd, it is said, but slowly.
The renewal of the inner person,
becoming Christlike, is not accomplished in a moment but a lifetime.
Augustine (354-430) observed that this process is like healing from a
It’s one thing to remove the spear, but quite another to heal the wound by
long and careful treatment.
This healing occurs gradually as our
old ways of thinking and living are erased, and we become more like our
Savior as we are renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).
This renewal takes place not by self-effort alone but by faith. It involves
reading, meditating on, and obeying God’s Word. We must also fix our minds
on the character of Christ and ask God to make us like Him.
Then we must wait, confident that God is working in us to accomplish His
purposes. Every day has its mishaps and memories of something we should have
done or not done, but we must not be impatient. Though incomplete, we are in
process. Sin may frustrate us for a day, but God is at work—and on ahead
lies perfection, which is “the hope of righteousness” (Galatians 5:5).
Someday we’ll see His face and we’ll be like Him—as holy as the holy One (1
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Dear Jesus, take my
heart and hand,
And grant me this, I pray:
That I through Your sweet love may grow
More like You day by day.
The new birth takes only a moment;
growth in holiness takes a lifetime.
New Wood -The poet Henry W.
Longfellow was on in years and his hair was white, but he remained a
vigorous man. When someone asked him the secret of his vitality, Longfellow
pointed to an apple tree in bloom and said,
That tree is very old, but I never saw prettier blossoms on it than it now
bears. That tree grows new wood each year. Like that apple tree, I
try to grow a little new wood each year.
That is God’s design for His children.
Although the years take their toll on our bodies, our souls have the
capacity for unending renewal. Through life’s experiences, narrow attitudes
can broaden into greater understanding if we let them.
The apostle Paul found his motivation for growing “new wood” in his
relationship to Jesus Christ. He longed to know Him increasingly, not in
theory but in reality (Php 3:8, Php 3:10). This meant reading (2Ti 4:13),
renewing his mind (Ro 12:1,2), accepting life’s trials as part of the good
that God was continually working out in his life (Ro 8:28), and holding to
his confidence in Christ (2Ti 2:13).
Worn Bibles, prayer according to God’s will, and trusting Him in all
circumstances are characteristic of Christians who are growing “new wood.”
Is this true of us? — by
Dennis J. De Haan
Continual growing in
comes from a deepening knowledge of Christ.
Older and Better - When Paul
Molitor of the Minnesota Twins baseball team got his 3,000th hit as a major
leaguer, he won a small victory for everyone over 40 years old. He showed
that he still had great skills at an age when most players had long ago
No matter how hard we try, though, none of us can hold back the natural
processes of aging. We can exercise, eat right, put on moisturizing lotions,
but we still get older. That undeniable truth is found in 2Corinthians 4:16,
which states, “Our outward man is perishing.”
Enough of the bad news. Let’s get to the good news. At the same time our
bodies rush relentlessly toward destruction, we can enjoy a youthful
vitality in our walk with God. Through the constant renewal of our spirit
(2Co 4:16), we grow more and more prepared to be with God. Spiritual age,
then, does not have the same effect as physical age. Instead of slowing down
as we walk longer with God, we should be enjoying a more sprightly step. The
longer we fellowship with Him, the better off we should be.
Yes, we should be growing spiritually. The afflictions we bear are helping
us store up heavenly glory, not weighing us down. It’s true—if you’re
walking with Christ, you’re not just getting older, you’re getting better. —
by Dave Branon
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
THINKING IT OVER
To what extent does our society emphasize
physical beauty and downplay spiritual attributes?
What can I do to improve my spiritual fitness?
As we grow more Christlike
we grow more beautiful.
The Ultimate Airplane -
Tremendous heat is generated on the exterior of the Concorde airplane when
it flies at supersonic speeds. The temperature on the outer surface of the
plane can get to 127 C (261 F) even though the outside air temperature is
-56 C (-69 F).
The expansion caused by this heat makes the plane 9 inches longer at cruise
speed than at rest. The cabin floor of the aircraft is built on rollers and
doesn’t expand, and four air-conditioning systems keep the inside
comfortable. While the outside of the plane is undergoing tremendous stress,
the inside climate remains constant.
In today’s Scripture, Paul described our “outward man” as perishing under
the heat of great pressure, while our “inward man” is renewed day by day.
Note the contrast:
On The Outside
|Pressed on every
|| Not crushed
||Not in despair (2Co
|| Not forsaken
|| Not destroyed
When faced with trials, we too can
have an inner strength through Christ (2Co 4:11). Our part is to look beyond
the temporal to the eternal (2Co 4:18) and to renew our minds daily (Ep
4:23) through the Word of God and prayer.— by Dennis J. De Haan
Upon your own strength
you cannot rely;
There's a fount of strength and grace on high;
Go to that fount, your strength renew,
And the life of Christ will shine through you. —Hopkins
God's Word refreshes our minds;
God's Spirit renews our strength.
Better With Age - Some people
are obsessed with physical fitness—daily workouts, vitamins, organic food—in
spite of the fact that our bodies keep ticking away in inevitable decline.
In our twenties and thirties we think we’re invincible, but in the decades
that follow, the eyesight starts to go, then the knees, then the mind. Let’s
face it, trying to ensure long-lasting physical health is like trying to
stem the tide with a pitchfork!
And while it is true that the older we get the worse we get physically, it
doesn’t have to be that way spiritually. Believe it or not, it is possible
to get better with age. It’s what the apostle Paul meant when he said,
“Even though our outward man is
perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2Co 4:16).
Many of us fear aging with all the
trouble it brings. But when we are gradually stripped of everything that
props us up—whether wealth, independence, health, dignity, beauty, or all of
the above—we are left with more and more of God. So no matter how old you
are, it’s not too late to dig deep in God’s Word and invest more and more
time in your spiritual well-being. You’ll see the payoffs, now and later.
The older you get, the better you can become! — by Joe Stowell
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Although our outward
We still can be renewed each day;
Commitment to God’s Word and prayer
Give strength that will not fade away. —Sper
To get better with age, get spiritually fit.
How Are You Today - Wilfred
Yoder is one of the most enthusiastic Christians I know, even though he has
suffered with the pain of arthritis for many years. When people greet him
and inquire, “How are you today?” he cheerfully answers, “Just fine!”
Those who know of his pain sometimes question his sincerity. “How can you
say you’re fine when you’re in so much pain?” Wilfred’s standard response
is: “How I feel has very little to do with how I am. You see, the part of me
that hurts is just a shell, not the real me, and the real me is just fine!”
What Wilfred calls a shell, Paul called a tent (2Co 5:1). And the “real me”
that Wilfred refers to, the apostle called the inward man (2Co 4:16).
Although Wilfred’s earthly tent is painful and perishing, he realizes that
it is after all just a temporary housing for the inward man. One day he will
exchange it for his permanent home awaiting him in heaven. That is his
confidence. But until then, the inward Wilfred is conscious of being renewed
How are you today? Is your tent drooping? Remember, if Christ is your Savior
and Lord, a perfect body awaits you one day. But until then, no matter
what’s on the outside, on the inside we can say, “I’m just fine!” — by
I am rejoicing in
Though there are problems along the way;
He is the One who can help me say,
"The real me is just fine." —Hess
Our body is perishing,
but our spirit can be flourishing.
Older Or Better? - We know
we’re getting older when we say things like, “Can you believe how young
those professional baseball players are?” And it’s a sure sign of aging when
we no longer ask, “How are you?” but say, “Hey, you look terrific”—as if
Aging is inevitable. Unfortunately, society has taught us to fear advancing
age and to disguise its reality as much as possible. But aging can actually
be a wonderful thing. Followers of Jesus have the capacity to get
significantly better with age. As Paul put it: “Even though our outward man
is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2Co 4:16).
Just as there are physical signs that reveal we’re getting older, there are
signs that show we are getting better. Rather than becoming more crotchety,
intolerant, and unloving, the maturing follower of Jesus grows better at
forgiving, loving, and caring. Growing older is a continuation of the
journey to become more like Jesus, which means that as time goes on our
heart and attitudes should increasingly resonate with and reflect the
compelling character and winsome ways of our Savior.
So as we grow older, let’s embrace the opportunity to become spiritually
more like Jesus. Our friends will notice that we look better with age. — by
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
The seeds of aging
sprout in youth,
As weeds or grain they’re sure to grow;
But if we sow with love and truth,
A golden harvest we can know. —D. De Haan
Don’t just grow older—
Grow better as a follower of Jesus.
Octavius Winslow's devotional
related to suffering (2Co 4:15, 16)
CHRISTIAN sufferer! you marvel why the Lord keeps you so long upon the couch
of solitariness and upon the bed of languishing—why the “earthly house of
this tabernacle” should be taken down by continued and pining sickness, the
corrodings of disease, and the gradual decay of strength.
Hush every reasoning, anxious, doubtful thought. Your heavenly Father has so
ordained it. He who built the house, and whose the house is, has a right to
remove it by what process He sees fit. The mystery of His present conduct
will, before long, be all explained. Yes, faith and love can even explain it
now—“Even so, Father, for so it seems good in Your sight!”
Yours is an honorable and a responsible post. God has still a work for you
to do. You have been waiting year by year, in the quietness of holy
submission, the summons to depart. But God has lengthened out your period of
weariness and of suffering, for the work is not done in you and by you, to
effect which this sickness was sent.
Oh, what a witness for God may you now be! What a testimony for Christ may
you now bear! What sermons—converting the careless, confirming the wavering,
restoring the wandering, comforting the timid—may your conversation and your
example now preach from that sick bed! And oh, for what higher degrees of
glory may God, through this protracted illness, be preparing you!
That there are degrees of glory in heaven, as there are degrees of suffering
in hell, and degrees of grace on earth, admits of not a doubt. “As one star
differs from another star in glory,” so does one glorified saint differ from
another. Will there be the absence in heaven of that wondrous variety of
proportion which throws such a charm and beauty around the beings and the
scenery of earth? Doubtless not. Superior grace below is preparing for
superior glory above. And the higher our attainments in holiness here, the
loftier our summit of blessedness hereafter. For these high degrees of
heavenly happiness your present lengthened sickness may, by God’s grace, be
preparing you. Sanctified by the Spirit of holiness, the slow fire is but
the more perfectly refining; and the more complete the refinement on earth,
the more perfectly will the sanctified soul mirror forth the Divine Sun in
heaven. Be, then, your beautiful patience of spirit, meek and patient
sufferer, increasingly that of the Psalmist, “I have behaved and quieted
myself as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned
Andrew Murray - THE DAILY RENEWAL
-- ITS POWER (chapter 26)
WITH every new day the life of nature is renewed. As the sun rises again
with its light and warmth, the flowers open, and the birds sing, and life is
everywhere stirred and strengthened. As we rise from the rest of sleep and
partake of our morning food, we feel that we have gathered new strength for
the duties of the day. The inner chamber is the standing confession of THE
NEED OUR INWARD LIFE HAS OF DAILY RENEWAL TOO. It is only by fresh
nourishment from God's Word, and fresh intercourse with God Himself in
prayer, that the vigour of the spiritual life can be maintained and grow.
Though our outward man perish, though the burden of sickness or suffering,
the strain of work and weariness may exhaust or enfeeble us, the inward man
can be renewed day by day.
A quiet time and place, with the Word and prayer, are the means of the
renewal. But only this when as means they are animated by the divine power
which works through them. That power is -- the Holy Spirit, the mighty power
of God that works in us. Our study of the inner chamber and the inner life
it represents, would be defective if we did not give its due place to the
daily renewal of the inward man, which it is the function of the blessed
Spirit ever to work. In the text from Titus we are taught that we have been
"saved by the washing of regeneration AND RENEWING OF THE HOLY GHOST." The
two expressions are not meant to be a repetition. The regeneration is one
great act, the beginning of the Christian life; the renewing of the Holy
Ghost is a work that is carried on continuously and never ends. In Ro
12:2 we read of the progressive transformation of the Christian life, that
it is by "THE RENEWING OF THE MIND." In Eph 4:23, while the word "put
off the old man" (in the aorist) indicates an act done once for all, the
word, "BE RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR MIND" is in the present tense, and
points to a progressive work. Even so in Colossians 3:10 we read, "ye have
put on the new man, which is renewed [not, has been] in the image of Him
that created him." It is the blessed Spirit to whom we are to look, on whom
we can count, for the daily renewal of the inner man in the inner chamber.
Everything depends, in our secret devotions, upon our maintaining the true
relation to the adorable third person of the blessed Trinity, through Whom
alone the Father and the Son can do their work of saving love, through Whom
alone the Christian can do his work. That relation may be expressed in the
two very simple words, faith and surrender.
Faith. Scripture says, "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your
hearts, crying, Abba, Father." The child of God, the very feeblest, who
would in his morning devotion offer up prayer, that shall be pleasing to the
Father, and be a blessing to himself, must remember that he has received the
Holy Spirit as the spirit of prayer, and that His help is indispensable to
enable us to pray effectually. Even so with the Word of God. It is by the
Holy Spirit alone that the truth in its divine meaning and power can be
revealed to us, and do its work in our heart. If the daily renewal of the
inward man in the morning hour is to be a reality, take time to meditate,
and to worship, and to believe with your whole heart that the Holy Spirit
has been given you, that He is within you, and that through Him God will
work the blessing which He gives through prayer and the Word.
Surrender. Do not forget that the Holy Spirit must have entire control. "As
many as are LED BY THE SPIRIT of God they are the sons of God. They WALK
AFTER THE SPIRIT, not after the flesh." (Gal 5:18) It is the ungrieved presence of the
Spirit (Ep 4:30) that can give the Word its light and power, and keep us in that
blessed life of child-like confidence and child-like obedience which is well
pleasing to God. Let us praise God for this wonderful gift, the Holy Spirit
in His renewing power, and let us look with new joy and hope to the inner
chamber as the place where the inner man can indeed be renewed from day to
day. So shall life be kept ever fresh; so shall we go on from strength to
strength (Ps 84:7), so shall we bear much fruit, that the Father may be glorified
If all this be true, what need that we know the Holy Spirit aright. As the
Third Person, it is His office and work to bring the life of God unto us (Jn
3:5,6,7 6:63), to
hide Himself in the depth of our being and make Himself one with us, to
reveal there the Father and the Son, to be the mighty Power of God working
in us, and to take control of our entire being (Ep 5:18). He asks but one thing, --
simple obedience to His leading. The truly yielded soul will find in the
daily renewing of the Holy Ghost the secret of growth and strength and joy.
(Andrew Murray. The Inner Chamber and The Inner Life)
Andrew Murray - THE DAILY RENEWAL
-- ITS COST (chapter 28)
IT is not a little or an easy thing to be a full grown, strong Christian. On
God's side, it means that it cost the Son of God His life, that it needs the
mighty power of God to new create a man, and that nothing less than the
unceasing daily care of the Holy Spirit can maintain that life.
From man's side it demands that when the new man is put on, the old man be
put off. All the dispositions, habits, pleasures, of our own nature, that
make up the life in which we have lived, are to be put away. All we have by
our birth from Adam, is to be sold, if we are to possess the pearl of great
price. If a man is to come after Christ, he is to deny himself, and take up
his cross, to forsake all and follow Christ in the path in which He walked.
He is to cast away not only all sin, but everything, however needful and
legitimate and precious, that may become the occasion of sin; to pluck out
the eye, or cut off the hand. He is to hate his own life, to lose it, if he
is to live in "the power of an endless life." It is a solemn thing, far more
solemn than most people think, to be a true Christian.
This is specially true of the daily renewing of the inward man. Paul speaks
of it as being accompanied and conditioned by the decaying of the outward
man. The whole epistle (of Second Corinthians) shows us how the fellowship
of the sufferings of Christ, even to conformity to His death, was the secret
of his life in power and blessing to the Churches. "Always bearing about in
the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested
in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus'
sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So
then death worketh in us, but life in you." The full experience of the life
in Christ in our person, our body, our work for others, depends upon our
fellowship in His suffering and death. There can be no large measure of the
renewal of the inward man, without the sacrifice, the decaying of the
To be filled with heaven, the life must be emptied of earth. We have the
same truth in our second text, "Be ye transformed in the renewing of your
mind." An old house may be renewed, and yet keep very much of its old
appearance; or the renewal may be so entire that men exclaim what a
transformation! The renewing of the mind by the Holy Spirit means an entire
transformation, an entirely different way of thinking, judging, deciding.
The fleshly mind gives place to a "spiritual understanding" (Col. 1:9; 1
John 5:20). This transformation is not obtained but at the cost of giving up
all that is of nature. "Be not fashioned according to this world, but be ye
transformed." By nature we are of this world. When renewed by grace we are
still in the world, subject to the subtle all-pervading influence from which
we cannot withdraw ourselves. And what is more, the world is still in us, as
the leaven of the nature which nothing can purge out but the mighty power of
the Holy Spirit, filling us with the life of heaven.
Let us allow these truths to take deep hold and master us. The Divine
transformation, by the daily renewing of our mind into the image of Him who
is far above, can proceed in us no faster and no farther than our seeking to
be freed from every vestige of conformity to this world. The negative, "Be
not fashioned according to this world," needs to be emphasized as strongly
as the positive, "be ye transformed." The spirit of this world and the
Spirit of God contend for the possession of our being. Only as the former is
known and renounced and cast out, can the heavenly Spirit enter in, and do
His blessed work of renewing and transforming. The whole world and whatever
is of the worldly spirit, must be given up. The whole life and whatever is
of self must be 1ost. This daily renewal of the inward man costs much, that
is, as long as we are hesitating, or trying to do it in our own strength.
When once we really learn that the Holy Spirit does all, and in the faith of
the strength of the Lord Jesus have given up all, the renewing becomes the
simple, natural, healthy, joyous growth of the heavenly life in us.
The inner chamber then becomes the place for which we long daily, to praise
God for what He has done, and is doing, and what we know He will do. Day by
day, we yield ourselves afresh to the blessed Lord who has said, "He that
believeth on Me out of him shall flow rivers of living watery "The renewing
of the Holy Ghost" becomes one of the most blessed verities of our daily
Christian life. (Andrew Murray. The Inner Chamber and The Inner Life)
SPARKY ANDERSON, the former manager of
the Detroit Tigers, has been known to make some rather unusual statements.
Among my favorites is a remark he made to Alan Trammell during spring
training one year. Trying to convince his all-star shortstop that he could
play despite a sore shoulder, Anderson said, "Pain don't hurt."
In a sense, this is true in the Christian life. When we dedicate ourselves
to serving Jesus, we may have to endure trials, difficulties, and even
pain. But, like the apostle Paul, we must refuse to let the pain hurt our
That's the testimony of Laurie Collins, missionary to Bolivia. Despite
chronic arthritis that has left her hands and feet crippled, she keeps
going. She teaches a children's club and supports her husband, Jim, in his
work as a Bible teacher. Nothing, not even the pain, stands between her and
her work for the Lord.
What enables Christians like Laurie to keep the pain from hurting their
labors? It happens because, as Paul said, "the inward man is being renewed
day by day" (2Corinthians 4:16). And this comes about when we depend daily
on God. Only with His help can we keep on serving Christ as if the "pain
don't hurt." —J D Brannon
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
A traveler visiting Amsterdam was
intrigued by a chiming tower in the middle of the city Every hour when the
melody was played on the chimes, he would watch and listen. He became so
interested that he asked permission to climb to the tower room to watch the
musician. Once he got there, however, he didn't hear any music. All he heard
was the thump and bang of the keys. In the chime room there was nothing but
a terrible clatter, yet beautiful music floated across the city
In a small way this illustrates the difference between what we see happening
in our lives and the beautiful work God is accomplishing in us as He works
through us. Often in the clatter and thump of life, we wonder what is
happening. But if we are faithful to God and obedient to His Spirit, others
will see and hear the beauty and harmony of Christ's life in us. Let's hope
in God. No matter how discordant things seem, He keeps the melody playing.
—P R. Van Gorder
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)