1Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?2Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
5Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
12Do not let sin control the way you live;a do not give in to sinful desires. 13Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. (Romans 6:1-14)
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. (Matthew 16:25)
Perhaps the greatest mystery of our life in Christ is that it is precisely our self-dying that ushers in our new life in Christ. The more we are able to put off our old, Adamic nature, the more we are able to wear our new nature in Christ (see Colossians 3).
I recently read a story that put the power of dying to self into perspective:
During the Second World War, a Lutheran bishop, imprisoned in a German concentration camp, was tortured by an S.S. officer who wanted to force him to a confession. In a small room, the two men were facing each other, one afflicting the other with increasing pain. The bishop, who had a remarkable tolerance for pain, did not respond to the torture. His silence, however, enraged the officer to such a degree that he hit his victim harder and harder until he finally exploded and shouted at his victim, “But don’t you know that I can kill you?” The bishop looked in the eyes of his torturer and said slowly, “Yes, I know—do what you want—but I have already died—.” At that moment the S.S. officer could no longer raise his arm and lost power over his victim. It was as if he were paralyzed, no longer able to touch him. All his cruelties had been based on the supposition that this man would hold onto his own life as to his most valuable property, and would be quite willing to give his confession in exchange for his life. But with the grounds for his violence gone, torture had become a ridiculous and futile activity.
– Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out
The tighter we clinch to a worldly life, more entrapped we become in the material affairs of this world. A dead man is the freest man. He no longer has need for the things of this world. As we are able to let these things go (it is definitely a process) we are able to grasp more of our eternal reality, to peer beyond the veil, and to live resurrection life now.
When we give up the rule of our old nature and embrace the new nature indwelling us through Christ, the enemy no longer possesses any power over us… and he knows it.
Follow the Life!
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