by Travis Bryan III
The above title was a phrase used by English Bishop HCG Moule in his commentary on 2 Cor 4:8-12.
We are simultaneously being put to death (death of self) and being raised up into new creation power, joy and peace by God. This is the cross of Christ. It is a collision of two paradoxical opposites which takes us to a third place of transcendence. We are enabled to transcend our problems while still in the midst of them. Be we must hold this tension when we are caught in it. This is what it means to take up the cross daily. We are not to try to escape this tension. Transformation only takes place in this tension. Don’t transmit your pain. Allow God to transform it. Somebody humiliates you. Instead of lashing out or getting even, hold this within believing God will use it to grow you toward maturity.
We are knocked down but not destroyed. Persecuted but not abandoned. 2 Cor 4:8-9.
We only abound spiritually as we are abased. Phili 4. We hold within this creative tension. We die and rise with Christ. We stand there in the gap between the two creations, old and new, and embrace the cross. We are stretched out on the cross but only here can we empty out old self and be filled with God. Only here can we be uprooted from the world and planted deeper into the death then resurrection of Christ. Only here can we suffer our way with Christ into glory. Rom 8:17. Only here, in the midst of the bad, can all things work together for good! Only as we die can life spring up in others. 2 Cor 4:12. Only as we are delivered over to death can we manifest the life of Christ. We must hold these paradoxical opposites as over against trying to escaping the tension or lashing out against it.
We must take pleasure in our infirmities and stresses. 2 Cor 12:9-10. We must not be disappointed when God refuses to remove the thorn in our flesh. He has it there for a resurrection purpose: to keep us humble. Let it do its work!
As the bad things come our way we do not retaliate; we hold the creative tension knowing that God is also working to bring good out of the situation. The new creation personality comes out of holding the creative tension.
Key verse is 2 Cor 4:11 where Paul personifies “death,” stating we are delivered over into the hands of an enemy, “death.” We will bring into this discussion Acts 27:41 “where two seas met” and also, the “abased” and “abound” verses in Philippians 4.