A paradox is “a statement that seems contradictory or absurd but is actually valid or true.” Life coming out of death is a paradox. Yet any seed must lose its identity before it will spring back to life in another more glorious fruitful form. The seed rots and dies in the moist earth and then, through a miraculous Lifeforce, it multiplies itself at the harvest. One grain of corn yields two or more ears of golden corn.
God is wanting this to play out in our mortal lives here on earth. The death of self is the only sacrifice that God will accept from us. He wants us to be a part of Christ’s body, but the only way to get that Life that lasts forever is through a spiritual death.
This death is the baptism that the apostle Paul talked about–being baptized into His death, so that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we to can be raised to walk in a newness of life [ 1 ]. It is His resurrection in us that is our only hope of transcending the grave. For the only pay that we will receive in our old selfish life is a certain physical death. “The wages of sin is death” [ 2]. So we need to die now and avoid the rush.
Let’s get it done. Many are teaching that you can never get rid of sin in your life. Where does it say that? I thought that “all things are possible with God.” If it is “no longer I that lives, but Christ that lives in me,” then “Is Christ the minister of sin? God forbid!” [ 3]. Let’s “present our bodies a living sacrifice,” for this is the reasonable thing to do in gratitude for all He has done for us [4 ].
Let’s identify our old self with the sin sacrifice of the Lamb of God. He took on our sins on Himself on the tree, providing a way for us to be made free from the old sinful cravings and dark selfish actions that we were a slave to all our lifetime [ 5]. We are going to pay for our sinful selfish actions sooner or later. He said we would. The upside is that He has provided a way for us to take on His Life after we let our own selfish nature die on the cross.
Most have not heard this true message of what the cross is all about. They are told that Christ is our substitute. No, He is our example, and we are to follow His steps [6 ]. This “preaching of the cross” is just a bunch of foolishness to those who are dying in their sins, whether they know they are or not [ 7]. But to us who He is calling and choosing, it is an absolute lifeline, and it is the power of God to change lives. It is the only way for us to complete what we have been put here on earth for.
What we are doing here
And what is that, you ask? He is using an elect chosen few of His redeemed ones from all of humanity to reproduce Himself through . He is going to take only those who have submitted themselves to the death of the cross; He is taking them into His heart to reveal His very essence to them. They will be in awe of Him and revere His name and will bow to His magnificence as He overshadows their earthly physical plight to do His immortal work on them and then through them. Those who submit to Him will be changed into His glorious image as His own sons and daughters when He returns to this earth to set it all in order [9 ]. They will rule with Him and be in His inner circle while the rest outside wait for their word on the day’s business of the King’s Government.
Now that is the Life that He’s talking about. To be His son or daughter, to be a prince or princess by His side as He trains us up to be rulers with Him in His kingdom soon to fill the whole earth. That is the great destination, the wonderful reaping of our initial humble planting of ourselves into death with Him on the cross. For “if we have been planted together with Him” into His death, we shall also be raised together with Him in His resurrection [ 10].
Dying with Him does not make sense to the world
Yes, dying with Christ is utter foolishness to the worldly mind. But to us who He is calling and choosing, it is our ticket to the big show. And we will be on the stage of this earth, together with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Noah and Job and Isaiah and Jeremiah and Peter and Paul and all of His sons and daughters who have followed Him in this death of self . If He was good enough to literally and physically die for us, why then should we not spiritually die for Him and, better yet, allow Him to live out His life in us?
In so doing we are then made free from sin. And as we take in His Spirit into our new hearts through belief in His resurrection, sin shall not have dominion over us, for we are made free from it and its power over us [ 12].
It is just too simple and yet, too wonderful to just believe. Our small, weak, finite minds fail to grasp just how to do this. How do we get our old self to die and then receive a new life in Christ? We have to just reckon it so. We have to count it as a done deal. He has. He said that it was already done; the “works were finished” [ 13]. All we need to do is agree with Him and walk in this truth. He said that our old man “is crucified with Christ” [ 14]. Notice that is with an –ed, meaning that it is already done and over with in the past. That’s how God looks at things; that is how his faith and belief works. Now we need to believe what He believes about us. It is His faith in His own power in our lives that is the key. We just need to believe what and how He believes, and we will be changed into His image. We are now alive unto Him who said that He has raised up all who believe Him [ 15].
Life out of death is the ultimate paradox. The Savior said that very thing. “He who seeks to save his life shall lose it. He who loses his life for my sake shall save it” [ 16]. You will not hear this message in the vast majority of churches; they are trying to increase numbers–not lose membership. For “few there be to find this way of truth” [17 ]. Yet, those to whom He is granting His grace and favor to at this time will hear this and they will respond and take their old self to the cross, thereby enabling the new man to grow into His likeness. Kenneth Wayne Hancock
- Romans 6: 6
- Rom. 6: 23
- Galatians 17-20
- Rom. 12: 1
- II Corinthians 5: 21
- I Peter 2: 21
- I Cor. 1: 18
- II Cor. 3: 18
- Rom. 6: 5
- Matthew 8: 11; Luke 13: 2
- Rom. 6: 18, 22; 8: 2
- Hebrews 4: 3
- Gal. 2: 20
- Rom. 6: 11-13
- Mark 8: 35; Matt. 10: 39
- Matt. 7: 14