Friday, July 29, 2011

Dead or Alive?

One of the paradoxes of the Christian life is that we must die to truly live. A dried up seed planted in the ground must be dead before it can give rise to new life, first as a tender shoot bursting through the soil, then as a mature plant bearing fruit and seed propagating new plants (1 Corinthians 15: 36-38). Jesus suffered and died on the cross to pay the price for all our sins, and rose again to a glorified body and eternal life.(1 Corinthians 15: 1-4).

As we trust Christ as our Savior and turn away from our sins, we die to our flesh, that is, our sin nature, that would control us (Romans 6:6-14), and we become a new creation in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Until we receive our glorified body at the Rapture, however, and are truly sanctified or made into His image, we must fight the spiritual battle daily between our sin nature and the indwelling Holy Spirit, putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17). The Gospel, or Good News, of grace that Paul preached to the Gentiles is that salvation comes from faith in Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection to new life.

1 Cor 15: 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Before the beginning of the world, God knew who would accept this amazing offer to become His child and share in all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3-15), yet the mystery is that He did so without taking away our free will to choose eternal life in Christ or to reject Him and suffer eternal death in hell.

Although we must daily fight the battle between sin, which ultimately results in death (Romans 6:23), and the new, abundant life we received at the moment of salvation through the indwelling Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ has won the war on our behalf. We know how it will all turn out; we can look forward not only to the Rapture but to His glorious appearing as we return to earth with Him to fight the Battle of Armageddon; and we can stand victorious on His promise of eternal life.

1 Cor: 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

…55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Love in Christ,

Laurie Collett

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