DYING TO LIVE

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If you were to ask me, “What is the one thing that I appreciate”, the answer for me would be easy.  I would say that I appreciate life.  What I mean is, I appreciate the privilege of life.  Being able to take a breath in and push it back out is important to me.  I’m not trying to make a joke out of life, but God has created me for a purpose.  God literally breathed life into me and I want to live life in a way that gives God His breath back, to live a life of thanksgiving, to live a life that glorifies Him.  But I learned something this past Sunday… God desires that all of us live both dead and alive. What does that mean?

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, or the Good News, can be defined as: righteousness applied, payment received, sins forgiven, hope restored, joy brand new, life never-ending.  Yes, life never-ending.  But you might say, “we all have to die sometime”.  You would be correct. But the Gospel tells us something completely different. This is what the Apostle Paul came to boldly declare; this is the message for which he was an ambassador. He knew that this message was POWER. For the words on the pages in the Bible, the words contained in this gospel, they are Spirit and they are LIFE! They are God-inspired, God-infused, God-imparted. They are alive and active. They are not words simply written by men but they are God-breathed and penned by His Holy Spirit!

The Word of God, the Bible, the Gospel, tells us that we have been crucified with Christ.  Paul is clear, “WE DIED TO SIN.” This statement is crucial. He does not say: “Sin is dead to the Christian.” He does not say: “It’s now impossible for you to sin.” Rather what he is saying is this: “It’s logically impossible to continue in a life dominated by sin.”  We have been crucified with Christ.

But just as we have been crucified with Christ, we have also been resurrected with Christ.  Yes, we have been brought back to life by the Power of the Resurrection.  This tremendous spiritual truth is illustrated beautifully in the miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11. When Jesus arrived at Bethany, Lazarus had already died and been in the tomb four days; he wasn’t just dead, he was buried. He had been removed from their sight. There was no question about his death. But then Jesus commanded the stone be rolled away… and then, by the power of His word – the same voice that called Creation into existence, the same voice that said: “Let there be light”, Jesus “Cried out with a loud voice”, with an “Intense Shout”! What a contrast to what Isaiah said in his writings about the dumb idols who couldn’t speak and the fortune tellers who simply squeaked and squawked!  When Resurrection and Life speaks, it comes as a loud authoritative shout!  His cry carries with it a mighty power! That’s why He could say to this dead Lazarus: come forth! When Life commands a response, even the dead wake up and respond!  It’s at the sound of His majestic utterance that the dead are awakened!  When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, Jesus gives an “Intense Shout” and says “Come Forth”.  By Jesus’ Resurrection Power we have life!

Friend, all this being said, we are now both Dead and Alive!  Yes, we are DEAD to sin’s power to dictate our actions and ALIVE by the Resurrection Power to live out our lives eternally in Christ Jesus.

Sin and Death have absolutely no claim or power over Christ, therefore sin and death have no claim or power over you because you are UNITED WITH HIM! And what’s true of Christ is now legally true of us!

If you want to hear more about what it means to Die in order to live, listen to Pastor Carrie Garland’s sermon on the PAG Podcast at http://painesvilleag.com/a-study-in-romans.

This week take time to pray and meditate on this:

  1. I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST. I am bought with HIS blood! If we can remember this, we will not act as if we belong to ourselves. We owe Jesus Christ our lives and salvation, and we cannot live in disregard to His will.
  1. I HAVE BEEN RESURRECTED WITH CHRIST. I have been delivered out of the “dominion of sin.” The Spirit of God lives within me! If sin seems too powerful to resist, know that that’s not the case. We are children of God, and we can exercise authority over our sinful desires because of the power of the resurrection!
  1. I AM BOTH DEAD AND ALIVE. Christ “gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.

Lead Blogger,
George Leonhardt

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