“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
We are all dead! Dead to what? Well, Paul explains it very well in this little passage today, but of course the Bible has other verses and passages that help us to understand the answer to that question.
The Bible says that when we are “in Christ” old things have passed away and all things become new. Remarkably enough we find that just two verses later in this same chapter of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor 2:17). He says that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.”
So back to the question … Dead to what? Let’s continue to explore this question using the Bible. Take a look at what Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians:
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3:1-11)
I want you to think about that word “mortify” in verse 5. Paul says “mortify therefore your members …” and then he gives a whole list of things. “Your members” is referring to your body parts: your hands, feet, eyes, mouth and other things. That word “mortify” means to “deaden or subdue”. Paul is admonishing the reader to become “dead” to these earthly things.
So there’s that … dead to these earthly deeds. And that is a choice as we see Paul further encourage in verse 9 where it is written “put off the old man” and followed up in verse 10 to “put on the new man”. That is something that we choose to do. We choose to do those things that please the Lord and “put off” those things that do not please the Lord.
I think sometimes we use our past as an excuse to continue in activities that we know are wrong. It reminds me of a song by Tenth Avenue North entitled “You Are More”. The lyrics in the song include:
She knows all the answers
And she’s rehearsed all the lines
And so she’ll try to do better
But then she’s too weak to try
But don’t you know who you are?
Some Christians will say that the Bible does not support the idea that we are to become dead to sin and the sinful lifestyle. If this is true then why does Paul spend so much time preaching and writing about this? If we are to continue in the “habit” of sin, then what does it mean to be a “new creation”? If we are to continue to hang around with ungodly, unsaved folks for the majority of our time on this planet, then what happens to our testimony as that new creation? The answer: that testimony is tainted and Jesus is made a mockery!
We are to set our affection on things above and not on things of this earth. Before we knew the Lord we might have engaged in those fleshly things like drinking binges, sexual promiscuity and foul language. When we are “in Christ” (which means we have a testimony of salvation and we are professing Christians) we ought not to be hanging around in bars, spending time in situations that could lead to inappropriate sexual behaviors and our language should be only that which would please the Lord. We should be choosing activities that prove that we are dead to the habit of sinful behavior.
Listen! Jesus took the nails for you … for me, is it not the least we can do. He died for you … for me. Can we not choose those things that will please Him as we await His return?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:2-4).
You Are More! You’ve been remade. The least you and I can do is walk in a way that proves that we are a “new creation”. Walk in that newness of life.
‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to
This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
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