24th August 2019

A Good Death

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Romans 6:3-4 (NKJV)

Why the title? I love the English language and the way it has with words. The word ‘Oxymoron’ does perhaps sound rather odd, but the above title is an example. Dictionaries state that the oxymoron is an apparently self-contradictory statement which usually points out a poignant truth and is sometimes coupled with wry humour. For example: military intelligence,’ efficient government,’ and the dark coupling of ‘Friendly Fire’ are all oxymorons, as is the more neutral phrase ‘bitter-sweet’. There are thousands more examples including the Biblical statement ‘He who will save his life must lose it’, and that Christians are to be ‘Lively Stones.’

‘A Good Death’ sounds dark and strange to our ears, yet for us as Christians it’s a positive statement when it refers to our baptism. Let me explain: In counselling, the minister will often turn to Romans Chapter 6 for the parallel between Jesus Christ’s death and our death to our old ways quoted in the header scripture. It is explained that we are to be a New Creation, that the old had gone and the new has come – the death of the old man, and the accepting of Jesus’ life in our place. It is also stressed that we have not earned this in any way by changing our own lives and that baptism remains an outward expression of the inward repentance given to us by God upon accepting the Grace of Jesus on the cross, and that we do willingly submit to the leading of God’s Spirit to transform and to change us. I always appreciate being reminded of these wonders every time I serve in a baptism, thinking back to my own experience those years ago.

The Bible explains that in our natural human state we are dead to God and alive to sin and that God wills to reverse this natural human condition. God wants us alive to Him and dead to sin, in other words He wants us both dead and alive! When we are ‘In Christ’ we are both dead to sin in His death and alive to God in His life. Colossians 3.3 says “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

No wonder the angels rejoice at a ‘Good Death’!

Prayer
Thank you Father, that we can die and be reborn in Christ Jesus into new life. We die to live—now that’s a good death!
Amen

Study by Tony Goudie
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About the Author:
Tony Goudie is the Pastor of the Great Baddow Congregation of the Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
GCI Essex
Great Baddow
United Reformed church
High Street
Great Baddow
CHELMSFORD
CM2 7HH

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Tony Goudie
Phone: 07584-193441
Email: greatbaddow@gracecom.church

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