1 Corinthians 15:31
I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our LORD, I die daily.
1. We must die while we live, in order that we may live when we die. We must habitually consider ourselves as mere strangers in this world, who are on pilgrimage to another. Our mortal life must be a daily death, in conformity with the sufferings of Christ.
2. This description of the Christian's life on earth may seem to some repulsive. Remember this, then, that in the language of Scripture you are dead already. When born into the world you were dead in trespasses and sins; but now "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." We are thus taught to look upon ourselves as dead to this world, from the moment we are brought into covenant with God.
3. But since, to each of us is allotted a longer or shorter period of sojourning therein, our condition may be fairly spoken of as a dying daily — i.e., we have to "crucify the old man," those corrupt tempers and appetites which remain in us though we have been made regenerate, but which are at variance with the love of God. And this can only be done by a process slow and lingering, like that experienced by the victim on the cross. We cannot cast out the evil spirit at once; all we can do is to struggle with it, to keep every entrance by which it could gain admission fast and closed. We cannot destroy the noxious plant at once, but we may tear off each bud as it shoots forth. Yet, as all this is an anxious and a toilsome process, those who are engaged in it may be described as dying daily.
4. Now, it is not to be denied that religion, viewed as involving a continual struggle with our natural appetites, has something unattractive in it; and it seems hard at first to understand how her ways can be ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace. But the question for persons to decide is, not whether they like the prospect of mortification and self-denial, but whether it is not far preferable to submit to any amount of suffering rather than, after spending a few short years in selfish gratification, to pass to death eternal? It is hard when the world invites, to renounce it; when Satan allures, to resist him; when the flesh tempts, to deny it; but if these, when yielded to, will keep me for ever from God, then I will fight against them all the day long, and, the Lord being my helper, they shall gain no mastery over me. It is hard to mortify the members; to say to the eyes, see not; to the ears, hear not; to the tongue, taste not; to the hands, touch not. But if these things place my soul in jeopardy, I will rule them with a rod of iron. It is hard to submit one's own will to God's, but it were harder still to be shut out from His presence for ever.
4. Application: The first step towards dying daily is to establish within ourselves, practically, the feeling that we may die any day. Another step is to learn to discipline our earthly affections, by dwelling upon the thought that, though relations and friends are blessings for which it believes us to be very thankful, still they are only loans lent us by the Lord. And the same rule which applies to our earthly friends must be brought to bear on our worldly possessions. We must discipline ourselves to part with them by voluntary privations (1 Corinthians 7:29, 30.)
(F. E. Paget, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.