19th May 2011

Living To Die Or Dying To Live?

“That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus.”
Romans 6:4 (MSG)

The secret of eternal life has been sought after by man since the beginning of time.  Ponce de Leon, the Spanish explorer (c. 1460-1521), sought the elixir of life.  Egyptian Pharaohs made provision for the after life by stocking their tombs with all they thought they might need.  And today people are talking about being frozen just prior to brain death in the hope of being revived some time in the future when their ailments can be cured.  Let’s be honest:  no-one wants to die!

This new life that Paul talks about living after baptism, has to be totally different from our old way of life that we lived before. But this can only come to pass if Christ lives in us.  In Galatians 2:20 (NIV UK) Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

There’s another way of looking at it. Jesus told his disciples, shortly before his death, in John 12: 24 -25 (NIV UK), “I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Here we have a principle of being fruitful by dying. You know, it is easy to count the seeds in an apple but impossible to count the apples in a seed! Yet, in order to be fruitful, each of those seeds must die. There is no other way—in order for a seed to reach its full potential, it must die. It’s the same in the Christian life:  Our old selves must be crucified with Christ, as we noted above, but Paul goes on to say in Galatians 2:20, “The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

You see, Paul’s life was not now his own; it was the life and fruitfulness of Jesus, the Christ. As Paul lived in that new identity, the fruits of his life were produced by the One with whom he had been crucified—the Saviour who now lived in him!

All the efforts of man to achieve immortality have been futile and yet the answer has been here all along for those with eyes to see it.  Read it again in 1 John 2:17 (NIV UK), “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

So, are we living to die or dying to live?

Thank you Lord, for the fact that you abide in us and we in you.  Thank you that the fruits we bear are the fruits of your powerful life within us. Please continue to empower us so that all we do will be to your glory.

Study by Cliff Neill 

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