Are You Dead or Alive?
Christianity is a matter of life and death. Jesus said: "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
Death is the absence of life. Because there are different kinds of life, there are also different kinds of death. There is physical life and physical death (James 2:26). There is spiritual life and spiritual death (Ephesians 2:1). There is eternal life and there is eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46), the lake of fire which is the second death (Revelation 20:14).
When a child is conceived, physical life begins. "For You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them" (Psalm 139:13-16). "As you do not know how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything" (Ecclesiastes 11:5 RSV).
In uncivilized countries, women are allowed to kill their innocent unborn babies by abortion. This is the modern manifestation of the heathen gods to whom children were offered. "They even sacrificed their sons And their daughters to demons, And shed innocent blood, Even the blood of their sons and daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with blood" (Psalm 106:37,38). Although women who kill their babies by abortion are not imprisoned or executed, they will be judged by God: "Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked" (Exodus 23:7). God hates "hands that shed innocent blood" (Proverbs 6:16,17).
Even though these precious babies are rejected and killed by their own mothers, they will be welcomed into the arms of their heavenly Father. The mothers and abortionists who killed them, however, will be eternally lost unless they repent.
When physical life ends "Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7). "Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints" (Psalm 116:15).
Young children are innocent. They "have no knowledge of good or evil" (Deuteronomy 1:39). About this period in his life, Paul writes: "I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died" (Romans 7:9).
When sin enters our life, we die spiritually. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
Jesus came to rescue us from death. "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:14,15). He did this by bearing our punishment, "who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed" (1 Peter 2:24).
Paul explained this to the Ephesians: "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:1-10).
In his letter to the Romans, Paul explains how we can be united with the death and resurrection of Christ: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 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. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:1-18).
"For the love of Christ constrains us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:14-17).
"And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24).
"But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14).
"For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain'" (Galatians 2:19-21).
"Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations -- 'Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,' which all concern things which perish with the using -- according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh" (Colossians 2:20-23). False religions and false forms of Christianity usually concern themselves with superficial, outward rituals of human origin. When we die with Christ, we are freed from the regulations of man-made religion.
Paul then goes on to say: "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you also once walked when you lived in them. But now you must also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of you mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek now Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection" (Colossians 3:1-14).
We die to the world. We live for Christ. Death no longer has dominion over us. We no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died for us and rose again.
"For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living" (Romans 14:7-9).
"This is a faithful saying: 'For if we died with Him, We shall also live with him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him'" (2 Timothy 2:11,12a).
"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11).
Jesus has promised: "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4).
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive