“Always carrying about the death of Jesus in the body, in order that also the life of Jesus should be evident in the body” (2 Corinthians 4:10).
The great work of Satan is to remove from our present consciousness the certainty of death; we live our lives as though they will never end, pleasing ourselves, not fearful of God, taking from the Word of God those things that render assurance while ignoring all that interferes with our carnal comfort. We settle for a place where we neither carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus nor His resurrected life; Satan brings the same message to us that he brought to Eve in the Garden; “Surely you shall not die!” (Genesis 3:4).
The problem is that we have a this-world focus; sin doesn’t feel injurious or hurtful; indeed, sin blunts our spiritual feelings so that it becomes pleasing to our fleshly nature, bringing carnal comfort and pleasure; but it is fatally injurious to our eternal life. Contrarily, the sincere application of the Word of God hurts our feelings in this life; it will guide us to our cross, put an end to our life in this world, and destroy the old man so that the new man may live and grow and flourish.
The life of a believer is a process; the new life in Christ grows only as the old passes away and the passing away of the worldly life inevitably hurts. The modern religious doctrines of men have so distorted the scriptures as to deny in practice that there is any suffering to be endured for a Christian; all is froth and frolic; but the Word of God, we are told “….is living and effective and sharper than any double edged sword and penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, both joints and marrow and able to judge the innermost thoughts and intentions of the heart !” (Hebrews 4:12). That hurts!
When the Word of truth is allowed to penetrate thus, there is no place that deception can hide; the living Word reveals us to ourselves and we know ourselves as God knows us and we must cry with Peter; “Depart from me for I am a sinful man O Lord” (Luke 5:8); or lament with Paul; O wretched man that I am; who will set me free from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).
The Lord demands that we become so indentified with Him in this life that there is nothing of the old self left; that’s what it means to “take up your cross and follow Me”.