Pastor's Column: Make sure you've died with Christ
July 08. 2014 5:50PM
Did you know that every real-deal, born-again, Spirit-indwelt, Heaven-bound, true Christian has already died? Consider these verses:
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Colossians 2:20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations...
Galatians 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Romans 6:1-11 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ...
Jesus Christ, God's own Son, died on a cross. And when we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus, we are united with Christ in His death, which is symbolized in the act of baptism. In what ways do we die? When we put our faith in Jesus Christ in a saving way, we die to:
Sin. Yes, Christians will continue sinning, confessing sin and repenting of sin until we go to be with God in Heaven. But, there's a profound way in which the power of sin has been broken in the lives of believers. We are no longer bound to sin. We are no longer slaves to sin. In fact, the Bible describes us as being slaves to righteousness, which is true freedom. We died to sin, and we are raised with Christ to new righteous living. And the Bible makes clear that if we aren't in the process of putting our sin to death, we aren't really believers at all.
Our old self. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ in a saving way, we die to our old self with all its sinful desires and passions. When we put our faith in Jesus, suddenly, we aren't living for ourselves, but we are living for God and for others. God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, begins changing us from the inside out. Our old self, or flesh, has been crucified with Christ, and we have new life. Jesus described that change to Nicodemus as being “born-again”. That's why the Bible makes clear that if we continue to live worldly lives, we aren't real-deal believers.
The Mosaic law. When we become real-deal believers, we die to the law. The law that Moses gave at Mt. Sinai is no longer the substance of our Christian life; it is no longer a source of righteousness; it is unable to give us a right-standing with God. And if we persist in trying to obtain righteousness through the law, the Bible says we won't find it. There are those that miss Heaven because they continue to live like the world, and there are those that miss Heaven because they try to obey all the rules, without being transformed by the Holy Spirit through faith.
The Christian receives Christ and His righteousness by faith. The Christian lives the Christian life by faith in Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have died to the law.
We are also united in Christ's death through suffering. Just as Christ suffered, so we must suffer for Christ.
All this to say, being a Christian is not a casual thing. Real-deal believers experience profound change and are profoundly different from those around them. Christians have died to sin, to the old self, to the law. Christians care deeply about pleasing God, following Christ and obeying the Spirit. Christians will inevitably suffer for their faith in Jesus Christ.
Heaven and Hell are big deals. Make sure you are going to Heaven. Take a moment and consider whether you've died with Christ and have been raised with Christ. Does the above paragraph describe you? If not, repent of your sins, put your faith in Christ, ask Jesus to save you, get into a good church and be baptized. If you have any questions, or want somebody to pray with, give me a call at 605-428-4111.