Dying to Live

dying to live

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus Romans 6:11 (NIV)

My father-in-law, the late Ken Terhoven, in commenting on what it meant to be dead to sin and alive to God, used to tell this story:

There was once a young boy and an old man. Try as he could, the boy could never get one over the old man. No matter what he asked, the old man always had the right answer. Then one day, the boy hatched a plan. He would catch a sparrow and hold it tightly in his hand with just the beak and tail sticking out. He would then ask the old man what kind of bird it was. If the old man knew it was a sparrow then he’d ask him whether it was a dead one or a live one. If the old man said it was dead then the boy would open his hand and let it fly away. If the old man said it was alive then the boy would twist his hand and wring the sparrow’s neck.

After catching a sparrow the boy went to visit the old man. With the sparrow tightly clasped in his hand and only the beak and tail showing, he asked, “What is it?” “Why, it’s a sparrow of course,” said the old man. “Well is it a dead un or a live un?” inquired the boy eagerly. The old man paused, looked the boy square in the eyes, then said, “Well young man, that all depends on you.”

Warren Wiersbe, in The Bible Exposition Commentary, laments how “too many Christians are ‘betweeners’: … saved but never satisfied; they live between Good Friday and Easter, believing in the Cross but not entering into the power and glory of the Resurrection.” What a pity. Christians should be dying to live. To muddle along somewhere between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is a tragedy. Let’s not forget that the Christ of the cross is no longer on the cross and because He isn’t our old way of life, the life of sin, has come to a decisive end. This is the Easter message, anticipated through this season of Lent, “Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us” (Romans 6:11 Msg).

Are you “dead to sin”? The question’s in your hands. You can choose. Naturally, God the Father wants you to opt to live on the right side of Easter – to enter into the power and glory of the Resurrection. In a nutshell: God wants you to know life in all its fullness, resurrection life, both in the here and now and in eternity to come … but He won’t force the issue. The life you choose to live … well, that all depends on you.

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