by Doy Moyer
Have you ever felt that way? You feel so sick that you about wish you'd go ahead and die so that you'd feel better? We even say that as a bit of a joke (or maybe not). Of course, at the time that we feel so bad, we do wish for pretty much anything to happen that would improve our condition. Being sick is no fun.
Spiritually, the concept is indeed a statement of truth. In order to get better, in order to be free from sin, in order to experience forgiveness, in order to get better, we have to die. Paul put it this way:
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory" (Colossians 3:1-4).
"So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11).
Before that forgiveness, that we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2). Then, we must die to self and sin to be brought back to life by God. We have to die in order to live.
"How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:2-4).
By God's grace, we can die so that we can live. But this goes beyond our spiritual death and new life here. This points to an ultimate life that comes from Christ conquering death through His resurrection. So we die to live now. Then, because death has been conquered, our physical death is not something to fear because we, too, shall take part in the resurrection of life.
We don't really want to die. We want to live. Yet as physical death is necessary to resurrection, so also is death to self and sin necessary to the new life in Christ. By God's grace, we can experience both.
In order to get better and live, we must die.