2Timothy 2.11-13 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. (NKJV)
For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. Choose death to get life.
How foolish and strange our beliefs must appear to the world (1Cor 2.14). If we did not have the Bible, we could still get pretty close to what God requires simply by inverting the world’s wisdom.
God uses the lowly, not the mighty. If we want to receive, we give away. To be recognized, we keep secret. For exaltation, choose humility. To be first, we go to the end of the line. To achieve greatness, seek to be least. What strange behavior viewed from unbelieving eyes!
In fact, you may take the authoritative words of our Master from Matthew 5, turn them inside out, and expose the true nature of man without God. Our Lord declares that happy is the man who realizes he is lost; who understands the awfulness of sin; who is merciful and righteous; who brings true peace and suffers for others. The world would have us to be proud, self-dependent, self-serving, getting all we can, rising to the top letting nothing get in our way. We can sum up sin by declaring it as man’s desire to have and do the opposite of what God commands.
It is a faithful saying: if we die with Him, we shall live with Him. Again, we have the opposite of what we would naturally desire. By implication we have the choice of the opposite: if live without Him, we will die without Him (John 8.24).
We may choose, as most do (Matt 7.13), to live our lives ignoring His loving pleas, ignoring His sacrifice, ignoring His call, declining the free gift of salvation and tragically being forced to confess on our knees (Phil 2.10; Rom 14.11) before Him on the great and terrible Day what every man knows deep in His spirit to be true: that we have offended a holy God with our sin and we owe the penalty of death for it (Rom 6.23).
We can die now, or die then, but die we must!
To die with Christ is too surrender to Him, to exchange our way for His, to believe in the Son of God and fellowship in His death that satisfies that penalty we owe for our sin. Our old sinful man is put to death, covered in Christ’s atoning blood (Ps 79.9; Rev 1.5-6), recreated in His likeness and being seen as righteous and perfect in God’s eyes (Rom 6.5-11).
Concerning eternal salvation, we die once in Him, and receive life eternal (John 11.25-26). As for our daily life, each day we choose to die with Him (1Cor 15.31; Rom 8.12-14), to be rewarded with a true day of life in Him.
This manifests itself in transforming our lives through the daily death of “self” (Col 3.5-11).
- Death to our pride. Death to our control. Death to our hurt feelings. Death to our love of the world. Death to our selfishness. Death to our plans. Death to our lusts. Death to our griping and complaining. Death to our pity parties.
- Death to our fear. Death to our worry. Death to our burdens. Death to our anxieties. Death to doubt.
If we are dead in Him, how can we then be alive to ourselves? Our flesh and sinful desires seek to rise each day in mock resurrection power and we must crucify them daily remembering that it is impossible to be simultaneously “dead in Christ” and alive to self.
We must choose to die in Him each day, putting to death in bloody battle the flesh that so desperately wants to remain alive. It’s as if that rotten stinking corpse of our past sinful man tries to claw itself out of its grave each day like a poorly made B-grade horror movie.
With the sword of the Spirit, God has given us the power to hack the sinful man to pieces and keep it in grave where it belongs. God has given the sword, but we must choose to wield it each day. As surely as Agag represented sin, we must be Samuel each day and hack him to pieces (1Sam 15.33).
Do you find yourself a poor swordsmen today?
Perhaps your spiritual muscles are soft, your holy technique sloppy, your sword embarrassingly dull from neglect. As with athletic or physical skills, daily practice, instruction and time with the Master Instructor is the only way to hone righteousness, rejuvenate spiritual reflexes, and achieve Godly fitness. Have you had your workout with Him today?
Choose death in Him this moment. Receive true life from Him in return.
Lord, help us to put ourselves to death today, to die in You. Bless us with true life as only possible with You. Grant us the superior satisfaction, peace and joy today of giving up our lives for Yours. Let our respond not end with an “amen” but with an action. In Jesus name. Amen.
Contemplation: How are your sword skills? Are you spiritually out of shape? Are you willing to endure the pain of getting in shape?
Application: Death to self is the only way to life in Christ. Practice “dying” to your desires each day.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?