This world is constantly throwing things at us that more often than not- we can’t deal with under our own strength. When we go through a daily renewal in Christ Jesus, not only can we handle what is thrown at us, but in his strength, we become more than conquers of the daily trials and tribulations.
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For Which Cause We Faint Not
We’re deep enough into this chapter, that it would make sense to reiterate what cause Paul is talking about in this verse. Chapter four opens with the “cause” being referenced.
1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
The cause that Paul is making reference to is his ministry, preaching the Gospel of Christ Jesus not only by word but through manifesting the truth. Not only talking the talk, but making it far more evident and influential by walking the walk.
We Faint Not
Paul isn’t talking about passing out when he says “we faint not.” He’s talking about not losing heart despite the great adversity that comes with the job of being in the ministry of Christ.
Being in the ministry of Christ, the world is against you by default, and the book of Acts exists as a testament to that fact. It attacks you outwardly, or in other words, through worldly means against the flesh as an attempt to rob you of your joy and break your spirit.
A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart, the spirit is broken.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
Christ Jesus on the other hand works in the exact opposite way. Paul helps us out with this idea further along in the verse.
Though Our Outward Man Perish
Paul is the holder of the pen while jotting down this letter to the Corinthians, so we can assume that when he says perish, he’s not simply talking about death or dying. Personally, I believe that he is making reference to the constant grind that the world places upon us, but also think that there is a multi-tiered meaning going on here.
One having already perished could be in the sense that in Christ, our old man, outward man, our flesh, is already dead to sin.
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Using the word “our” in there denotes that he’s speaking collectively, which can point toward those who had already been persecuted to death for the cause of Christ, perishing in a literal, physical sense- but I don’t think so.
The reason being, if that were the case, the following part of the verse would not apply.
Regardless of how many ways we can come up with pertaining to what Paul meant by our outward man perishing, all of us gets he’s trying to say. We get it by virtue of living life in a fallen world.
We age, we get sick, we suffer for several reasons- some deserved, some not. And this is under normal circumstances, never mind throwing yourself to the wolves every day as the apostles did.
The Inward Man is Renewed Day by Day
This is the key to strengthening the flesh against all of the pressure and force delivered to it by the world. By having an inward man that is stronger than the world.
It isn’t stronger by our own strength- that’s just our carnal minds trying to make more of themselves than it should. It’s the strength that comes by the Word of the Lord, the indwelling of his Holy Spirit, the absence of sin, and the building up of the newborn spirit that has been given to us through Christ Jesus.
This is what motivated the apostles and kept Paul’s perishing outward man vitalized against every persecution- an inward man that was stronger than the outward man. kept strong by being renewed day by day.
The outward man is a temporary suit, or a vessel to grow up in, so when the time comes, we can move out and be with the Father. In other words, when our time comes to go by way of the grave.
Our inward man, our spirit, is eternal and will pass from glory to glory. We’ll shed our outward man, and be joined with a glorified body. In the blink of an eye, we’ll be transformed into a glorified body, quickened together by the Holy Ghost, fashioned for us by the Lord.
Paul is talking about a renewed spirit day by day.
Is it renewed by default every day, or do we have anything to do with whether or not it gets renewed?
My answer to that would be= it’s not that simple.
I believe that once we’re born anew, that there is a certain level of renewal that happens by default. Gaining the strength to “get over” or otherwise handle heartbreaks or things of that nature over time is one example of what I’m thinking about. Or the following:
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
People who are not saved can also do the same (time healing inward wounds, etc.), but I would venture to say not as quickly nor as permanently. Either way, saved or unsaved, it’s a gift of the Lord that our inward man can handle heartbreaks or anything of the like at all! The passage of time deadening the effects of emotional blows is a gift from the Lord distributed through his mercy and grace, make no mistake.
So in many ways, I believe that our spirit or our inward man is renewed day by day, just by virtue of being a child of the Lord.
The Word of the Lord
God’s Word supercharges our inward renewal. He fuels us with his strength when we should otherwise have no strength. He brings us healing when it doesn’t make sense. His Word through his Spirit makes our spirit and our inward man far superior to our outward man, forcing the outward man to comply.
Whatever happens to the outward man becomes inconsequential when the inward man is raging with the fires of the Holy Ghost and the boundless life given to us by Christ Jesus. The Lord uses His Word in powerful ways within us, because there is nothing more powerful to fuel our hearts than that which has already passed through the lips of the Lord.
When we talk, we breathe, and the breath of the Father is the breath of life. When we spiritually digest the Word of the Lord, we’re also taking in the life breathed out as he spoke them. Dwell on that for a moment, and you might get as excited about that thought as I am as I type this down!
Our Daily Renewal in Christ
Though I believe that to an extent, we are by default renewed day by day. However, we’re the ones responsible to make sure we are renewed. It’s on us to be obedient to the Father and to take in his Word daily- it’s not on God.
We are not all called to be apostles, ministers, or servants unto the Lord in the same manner that Paul was. However, we’re all called to do something, and we all have a purpose and a cause whether we know what that cause is or not.
For Christ’s sake, was the ultimate cause that blanketed everything that the apostles did. Likewise, regardless of where we have been placed in life, whether we’re in ministry, sweeping floors, making deals, running machinery, or streaming video games, we all can share a common cause, and that is to do all unto the Lord for the sake of Christ Jesus.
Though we may be tempted to faint, we’ll faint not by virtue of having a strong and renewed spirit, fuelled and strengthened by the Father himself, through the Holy Ghost, in Christ Jesus! Hallelujah!
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- Through Christ – 2 Corinthians 3 Part 2
- Preaching 101 – 2 Corinthians 4 Part 3
- We Faint Not – 2 Corinthians 4 Part 1
- What is the Spirit of Faith? – 2 Corinthians 4 Part 6
- The Lord is that Spirit – 2 Corinthians 3 Part 6