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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wanted: Dead and Alive!

Romans 6:11 (ESV)
11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

The Bible has a lot to say about life and death. It had to for this world teaches us all the wrong things about it. This world says that we should grab all that we can get as if real life existed in this world. The Bible tells us that this world is fading away. The world teaches that keeping all that you can keep means you will have more. The Bible reveals that giving all that you have means you will have more. The world says that real happiness is when you have everything you want. The Bible says that joy is more important than happiness. Joy comes from peace- not possessions.

Even people who professed to be believers get this so mixed up. They think that their giving to the church (or to God- this depends on their point of view) will mean God will make their lives sweet and plentiful on the earth. They do not understand that God is working on making them wealthy in heaven, not in this world. He is working on their faith.

Still, some say that they have faith but they have no evidence of their faith. They do not give, serve sporadically and attend church when it is convenient. They do not confess, never repent and live lives very much like the unbelievers next door. They put Christian symbols on their cars and drive like a bat out of hell. They claim to know Christ yet as I hear them drop His name, their actions reveal that they do not have a clue who He is. James said, "So, faith without works is dead."

Death makes no sense to a lot of people. They cannot understand how they can be alive in Christ but dead to themselves. Their own understanding is that being alive in Christ must make them more alive to themselves. Death is the inability to respond to an outside stimulation. The flesh will never relinquish its ability to be stimulated. In fact, its desire for stimulation is insatiable. It is like the hamster in the wheel who runs harder but never gets anywhere. Every goal of stimulation which is met demands more.

Death is a totally different matter. Death makes us totally responsive to God rather than the stimulations of this world.  What is this world will concern you when you are dead? Will it be your taxes? Will it be your bank account? Will it be what car you were driving before you died? No, the only things that will matter once you are dead are the things that you want to have with you. Those things will be the loved ones you knew in this world. You cannot make a decision for them but you can live a life of death which will reveal the life of Christ to them. Living a life for yourself will never lead someone to Christ. Hedonism is only good for a very short time.

And while I write this I know that I struggle with dying to sin. I still have pride and drool at big screen televisions. (However, dropping cable has made an enormously positive impact on my life this past year.) It seems that I am only dead to sin for short spurts. They are like breaths of air for a drowning man but I still can't seem to keep my head above the water.

So, my life today will be to commit myself to Christ. I will renounce my flesh and be filled with the Spirit. The only way to truly live is to be both dead and alive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Romans 6:11 starts with "So", or "In the same way" according to the NIV Bible. In what "same way"? When we see such "connective", we need to look at the verses before our current verse. This is what verse 10 says: 

The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

The "he" there, in verse 10, was referring to Jesus.  Lord died to sin, and He lives to God, the Father.  In the same way, we are to be like Jesus, take after Jesus, live to God.

To live to God, we necessarily need to die to sin, for God is holy. Committing sins means we are live unrighteously, and that just makes us ill-useful to God.  Right living is required, despite what the overly grace preachers are teaching, that only right standing is what matter.  The Apostle James said that we should not be fooled - he who does righteous, is righteous, even as he is righteous.  In the Old Testament, at some point in time, the people of God, the Israelites, were said by God that their works were filthy rags.  The children of God then were terribly strayed from the ways of God, living unrighteously, and so, the saying of the works, that way.

When the works done by one is filthy rag, it means the works are not acceptable to God. In other words, the person is useless, nothing done is pleasing to God! Obviously, such a person, he cannot be counted as living to God, can he? No.  Ps Prentis said rightly that the two go together - to be alive to God (or to live to God), we must necessarily die to sins. We just cannot be living in sins, and still insist that we are also living to God. 

There are the ways of the world and the ways of the Kingdom of God.  We must understand that every King has his own prescriptions or ways or will for his kingdom.  God is a king, the King, and has a kingdom, and so, there are ways to that kingdom, and the ways we can know from the Word.  Although Satan has been defeated by Jesus, he, Satan, has been around, and is still around in the world. He, Satan, has exerted and perpetuated his ways in the world, and so, we have the ways of the world.  Before entering into salvation, we were of the world. After salvation, we cannot subscribed to the ways of the world anymore.  Jesus said we are IN the world, but no longer OF the world.  

When we have entered into salvation, we have joined or crossed over to the Kingdom of God.  And so, as one of the Kingdom, we must live according to the ways of the Kingdom or the King or God.  Jesus accordingly taught His followers and us, to pray this (of the Lord's Prayer): "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." The Kingdom of God, headquartered in Heaven, is invading the world; and we are the converts, and we, after conversion, are to be His vessels of invasion through our living out of His ways or the ways of the Kingdom.  

Jesus lived the ways of the Kingdom before He was crucified and resurrected to Heaven; and we are to be His imitators or disciples, to continue with His work, of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth. And so, we need to live to God, just Jesus did and still does; and we need to die to sin, just as Jesus did when He lived on earth. When we finished our life here on earth, we go to the HQ - the Heaven, where God is.

I am NOT saying that I don't struggle to die to sins; scriptures did not pretend that it is automatically easy.  Scriptures used such terms as "daily carry our cross" (Luke 9:23); and resist sins to the point of shedding blood (Heb 12:4). I have committed, you too, if you are a Christian, to die to sins and to live to God.  What if you did sin? Subscribe to 1 John 1:9. God is gracious and He is faithful, but please avoid profaning His grace. Don't give up fighting the good fight.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions