Updated: Sep 14
A red scruffy beard covered his crooked smile, his eyes gave him away. He had a strange and foreign understanding of the universe. This was confirmed when he said to me, “I am dead to the world.” I had to look away. He wore a long black robe and old weathered leather shoes. I thought he was a monk but later learned he was an abbot. Passing through town, he had stayed with us overnight. In the morning, I offered him a plate of pancakes. He said, “No, thank you, I have to leave now.” His eyes twinkled. We said our good-byes. His words about being dead stayed with me. How could someone so sparkly be dead? It took me a long time to figure out what he meant.
When I finally did understand, it changed the direction of my life. I found the answer in this verse:
We have therefore been buried with Him through baptism into death so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory and power of the Father, we too might walk habitually in newness of life abandoning our old ways. (Romans 6:4)
Since then, I’ve come to know we are not only baptized as Jesus Christ was baptized, but we were crucified with Him, too. When Jesus was crucified, He paid the debt for our sins through His death; we die to this world the moment when we come into agreement with Him. At that moment, we make the decision to change and walk away from our sinful way of life. We die to this world and commit ourselves to Him as one of His disciples. Spiritually, we are in Him, so when He was raised in victory over sin and death, we were raised, too. This does not mean that as disciples we do not sin or that we are not immune to temptation. Rather, we make the decision to either identify with Adam in the Garden of Eden under the reign of sin and death or to identify with Jesus under the reign of grace through righteousness. There really are no other categories: Either we are in Adam or in Jesus Christ.
If you go into a morgue and try to tempt a corpse to commit a sin, of course, you will not succeed because that person is dead. Likewise, we strive to become dead to sin, fully alive instead through Jesus Christ. We are changed; we say “no, I am not doing that anymore.” Becoming a disciple of Jesus means burning all our bridges to our past life of sin.
Being baptized in Him rids us of our old life, our old ways. We become new Creations in Him.
Oh, dear Jesus, Lord God Almighty, raise me up! Raise me from the dead! Raise me from the depths of my own desperation! Thank you for the blessed opportunity to start over again in You. Make me Your new creation. Thank you for making me dead to this world! Amen