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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Death Changes Things

You've heard the saying, "Prayer changes things." Maybe it does. Maybe not. Depends on the prayer and the pray-er (the one doing the prayer). I'll tell you one thing that certainly does change things: death. But perhaps not in the way you are thinking. Sure, death generally changes things for the living. I have in mind the changes in the person who dies.

Death means the end of something. It also means the beginning of something else. For the believer, physical death means the end of this life, sure, but it also means the end of sin, the end of decay, the end of illness, the end of all that is opposed to God and that opposes our walk with Him. To be absent from the body is to be present with Him (2 Cor 5:8). As Paul put it, to die is gain (Phil 1:21).

Of course, it isn't just physical death I have in mind. "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." (Rom 6:3-4) This death -- "baptized into His death" -- produces "newness of life". Prior to this we lacked the capability to do good, to not sin. Now, we are told "he who has died is freed from sin." (Rom 6:7) Now we are told, "Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." (Rom 6:12-13) Those are things we couldn't do before ... before we died.

Most of us experience frustration in this life (Rom 7:15-24). We don't want to sin, but we do. We don't want to become tepid, but we do. We don't want to fail Christ, but we do. Good news! If you are in Christ, you are dead. Dead to sin and alive in Christ, alive to walk in the newness of life. He is the answer to our constant dilemma of falling and getting back up again. It couldn't happen without death. And putting yourself to death daily is the means of greater life in Him. There is hope.


Alec said...

Beautiful message, Stan.

As Paul said,

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:35-39)

If I only remembered this more, I'd be a lot more joyful.

Stan said...

That is where we must live, especially in our times.