"We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead" (II Corinthians 1:9).
The Apostle Paul references a death sentence passed on his fleshly tendency to trust in himself rather than the living and true God. He also declares the basis for confidence in our Heavenly Father, namely, He "raiseth the dead."
That is somebody we can trust. Indeed, believers live in the light of a tomb once occupied, but now and forevermore empty. The Lord Jesus is risen from the dead, a victory that applies not only to our salvation, but to every aspect of a life wherein those who trust Him see His triumph in countless ways. Indeed, the Christ in whom we have placed our confidence conquered our worst enemy, death. He purposes to apply the power of His overcoming life to all conditions, circumstances, and situations as we live our lives "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).
Like Paul, however, we face a challenge in our natural sensibilities, that is, our earthly components inherited from Adam: "the flesh lusteth against the spirit" (Galatians 5:17). This aspect of our being prompts us to independently navigate the course of our lives as if we possess the means to do so. Nothing could be further from the truth. "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Note that Paul spoke these words regarding believer and unbeliever alike. Even the most ardent atheist requires God's bestowal of "life and breath and all things" in order to bluster his denial of obvious reality (Acts 17:25). Christians, of course, know and seek to live by this truth. However, we also face the challenge to forget or ignore the necessity of our dependence on the Lord. We must therefore join Paul in passing the death sentence regarding "trust in ourselves." Whenever we find ourselves drifting away from the only safe harbor that exists for our hearts, we remember and affirm the condemnation we have directed toward trust that does not originate and continue in the faithfulness of God. As the mighty warrior David confessed, "I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me" (Psalm 44:6).
What if the power of Christ's resurrection applies to this problem, or that difficulty, or any challenge we face in our present lifetime? It does. "To live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). What if our flesh nevertheless tempts us to rely on our own bow or sword? It will. Thus, we build an altar in our hearts whereupon we pass a death sentence on any trust that does not rest in the risen Christ alone. We then visit that altar whenever we recognize our fleshly tendency to rely on anything less than the power that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. Yes, the empty tomb of the Lord Jesus applies to every day, and to whatever life brings our way…
"Ye are risen with Him through faith in the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead."
"He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool."
Weekly Memory Verse
"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love toward another, and toward all."
(I Thessalonians 3:12)