|Photo by Graham Crumb 2009|
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Transitions: Triplets of Change from Death to Life
As we are made in the image of the Triune God (Genesis 1:26-27), it is not surprising that our physical and spiritual being, our relationships, and our life path reflect His three-part nature. Our lives unfold and transform according to His perfect plan, with triplets of change marking our transitions along that path (Jeremiah 29:11).
Solomon speaks of God making everything beautiful in His time. He speaks of the times and seasons of life, beginning with a time to be born and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2,11). Yet sandwiched between these two events is the span of our time here on earth. In 1966, Linda Elllis wrote a poem called “The Dash,” referring to that tiny line on the grave stone between the birth year and the year of death – that tiny line that represents all we do with our allotted time in this life (Psalm 90:10). In the scheme of eternity, that time is like a vapor, disappearing like the puff of air we exhale on a frosty day (James 4:14).
So life on earth is the transition from birth to death, and even before that is gestation, during which the baby lives in its mother’s womb in the transition from conception to birth. When we are born, we as children depend on others to provide for our physical needs; then we are self-sufficient as mature adults; but then we become elderly and begin to deteriorate physically, once again requiring support from others. God therefore commands us to honor our parents, not only when we are children and their care prolongs our life (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16), but also as adults when the tables are turned and we provide for them (Mark 7:10-12).
Since Adam and Eve fell and sin and death entered this world (Genesis 2:17; 3), our bodies have been doomed to age. The process of physical maturation and decay is marked by transitions in posture and stance – horizontal in infancy as the baby spends most of its time sleeping and then crawling; upright in adolescence and adulthood; then stooped and ultimately bedridden due to the ravages of old age. Yet physical aging need not mean the end of our usefulness to others and service to God, as was the case with Caleb (Joshua 14:9-14), Moses (Deuteronomy 34:7), Naomi (Ruth 4:14-17) and others.
Before puberty we cannot have children; then we become sexually mature and capable of parenting; but as we age, we become infertile and lose our reproductive potential. (Of course, nothing is impossible with God, and He blessed Sarah (Genesis 17:15-19) and Elizabeth (Luke 1:13-18) with children at a very old age even though they had been barren).
Even more important than the physical transitions every person must undergo are the spiritual transitions God freely offers to whosoever desires them (Revelation 22:17). When we seek God, and search for Him with all our heart, we shall find Him. Then we can call upon Him, and pray to Him, and He will listen to our prayers (Jeremiah 29:12-13). Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, later paraphrased this by saying, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not (Jeremiah 33:3).
Jesus Himself promised us the greatest possible life changes if we are willing to undergo three transitions or steps of obedience: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7).
Sadly, many reject Christ’s offer of eternal life. These unsaved people must transition from life to three kinds of death: not only physical death (Hebrews 9:27) that all of us face (unless we are still alive at the Rapture; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54) but also spiritual death, or separation from God during their earthly life (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13), and eternal death with everlasting punishment in Hell (Mark 3:29; John 5:29).
By calling on the Name of Jesus, we can go from death in sin to being born again (John 3:3-8), followed by spiritual growth as we are progressively conformed to His image (Philippians 3:10-14). When we are born again, we are transformed from a natural man (unsaved), ideally to a spiritual Christian yielded to the Holy Spirit, but sometimes to a carnal Christian when the old sin nature wins the daily battle against the Holy Spirit (Romans 7:13-23; 8:6; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16).
One of the most important transitions of our life involves how we deal with sin, for all of us are sinners in need of a Savior (Romans 3:23). First we must ask His forgiveness of our sins (1 John 1:8-10), then we must repent or turn away from willful sin (1 John 2:1-6), and then we must forgive those who have sinned against us (Matthew 6:14-15; Luke 17:4). All of our sins nailed Jesus to the tree, yet He forgave us (Colossians 2:13), so how much more should we be willing to forgive others? (Matthew 18:21-35) To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).
Praise God that He allows whosoever will to transition from death to abundant life (John 10:10) here and now and to eternal life in His presence! May we place our faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and spend our short time here on earth by praising, worshipping and following Him!
© 2014 Laurie Collett