Wanted: Dead and Alive (Lent 16–2013)

If there was a “Wanted” poster for Christians, it’d read, “Wanted: Dead and Alive.” 
How is that possible?–you ask–to be both dead and alive?”

“Because of Jesus” would be my reply.  For the Christian, it is possible to be simultaneously dead and alive.

What are we dead to?  Because of Jesus, we are dead to the old body of sin and our slavery to it.

What are we alive to?  Because of Jesus, we are alive to experience life as it was meant to be lived: free from sin and free to worship God.

That’s what today’s passage (Romans 6:1-11) is all about.  It’s a life-and-death matter, wrapped up in the idea of baptism.  Why baptism?  It is an outward physical sign of washing with water to indicate the inward spiritual change of being cleansed from sin.

The Dead and Alive argument goes: if we are dead to the things of this world, we aren’t under the thumb of sin anymore.  How could we be?  What can dead people do?  Jesus died for our sins and when we believe Him, it’s like we died along with Him.

But because He is alive, we’re also alive again!  It’s like we’ve been given a whole new life—free from needing to obey what jeopardized us in our former way of living.  We obey Christ and have new life because that’s what He gives us.  His Holy Spirit indwells us as new creations!  Perhaps now might be a good time to insert the words Born Again, although some argue that there’s never a good time for those words—they’re far too polarizing to ever be spoken.

If I died to the old master of sin, and I am alive to serve the new Master, Jesus Christ, why is sin still a struggle?  It’s part of the already-not-yet of being already born again in a world that has not yet been renewed.

Let’s face it: Born Again Christians don’t fit in.  Christians are Wanted men and women who are wanted by God to be following Christ, crucified with Him and born again by Him.  We’re wanted but also waiting for the new creation fit for those Born Again, Christians who are Wanted: Dead and Alive.

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Give it up for Lent: Being ashamed of being Born Again; Contentment with dead priorities

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For further study, read John 3:1-21.

  1. What does Jesus say here about being dead physically and alive spiritually? 
  2. If there’s a sin issue you struggle with, how might considering it dead help you to let go of it? 
  3. How might considering yourself to have died to the things of this world by being crucified with Christ help you to live as a person who is born again?
  4. What do you think is at the root of the words born again being turned into a pejorative term?



Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on March 2, 2013

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