Monday, April 5, 2021

Resurrection Words Day 4: Death & Life

Day 4: Death & Life

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20

Unofficially, I believe I have made Galatians 2:20 the theme verse of this whole challenge, for the events of the cross and the resurrection, for the Christ follower, call for our own experience of dying and being raised to a  new life in Christ. 

I was raised Catholic and was, therefore, baptized as an infant. In my mid-twenties I heard the gospel in a new way and came into a relationship of faith with Jesus Christ. After a few years of reading and learning the Scriptures I came to believe that baptism after coming into a relationship with Christ was more in line with the teachings of the Bible because of the significance of the acts that take place during baptism. 

"We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." Romans 6:2-4

As we go down into the baptismal waters, this act symbolizes our commitment of dying to self and being buried with Christ. As we come up from the water, it represents our resurrection with Christ into a new life.

"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." Romans 6:6-11

We practice our death by giving up our will to live on our own terms. Only in that relinquishment or renunciation are we able to practice resurrection." ~ Eugene Peterson

Faith in Christ is a call to die to sin and to life on our own terms, crucifying our old self and its self-centered way of living. In repentance, there is a turning away from and a turning toward. We turn away from a life ruled by sin and turn to a new life in Christ ruled by the Spirit. 

At our church when we have a baptism service, we have a practice of reaffirming our own baptism commitment using the following:

I affirm that I have turned from my own way and from sin.

I affirm that I have renounced Satan and all his ways. 

I affirm my allegiance to Christ, and my decision to walk in all his ways.

This is dying to self and living to Christ. 

 Paul captures this very clearly in 2 Corinthians:

"...We are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Those who are in Christ are called to live, not for ourselves - we give up rights, we give up 'me-first', we give up putting our needs ahead of others - , but to live for Christ, as He did - sacrificially, generously, others-first, putting others needs ahead of our own, acting out of mercy and with love. We will explore what this 'Christ-first' life looks like in the days ahead, and it is all powered by the cross and the resurrection.

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4

Share your response to today's word and Scripture readings in the Words Art & Faith Challenge Group on Facebook. Or share on social media with #resurrectionwords.  

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