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.

Romans 6: 5

 

Christ changes many things about life. Perhaps the greatest of these changes relates to how we view death. For most people and throughout our history death has been considered to be one of life’s most troubling and even frightening events. It is also its second most certain after the beginning of life. Yet Paul is talking about something even more important and of greater impact on us than the end of our earthly days. He is entering into the idea that in Christ we each die a very real death before we come to that hour of final earthly existence.

 

Although Paul is not talking about us literally following in Christ’s path of death by murderous torture, perhaps he is suggesting something about the harsh reality and the difficulty that most people encounter as we do follow our Lord into His calling for our life after we accept Him. There is much about the old person that we have been that needs to die as we become Christ’s disciples. Our character, beliefs, and primary way of acting were born into our flesh and have subsequently been practiced through all of the days of our lives. Changing all of this is not something that most people can accomplish on our own. It requires wisdom and power beyond the realm of human capacity.

 

Thus Christ invites us into the deep intimacy and profoundly comprehensive experience of His death. As Jesus was nailed onto that life ending cross and overcame death in His resurrection, He seized Satan’s temporary power and control over this earth so that God’s legitimate authority over all of Creation was reclaimed from that false ruler. That same victory over sin and its sentence of death is ours. There is often agony in the process of turning the sinful aspects of ourselves over to Christ and considerable time may pass while the Spirit does His transformative work in us; yet, as the Lord’s perfect will is completed in us, we will enter into the glory of Christ victorious resurrection morning.

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