“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20).
Like me, perhaps you’ve heard about the “miracle baby” born in Argentina that was declared dead, placed in a hospital morgue, but was later found alive by her parents. The baby girl, born about three months prematurely, was whisked off to the morgue before her parents even saw her. Twelve hours after the baby was declared dead at the Argentine hospital, the parents insisted hospital employees bring them to the morgue and allow them to say goodbye. But when morgue employees opened the drawer where the baby lay, the parents heard her crying. Argentinian health officials have suspended five hospital workers pending an investigation and the parents say they plan to sue. However some medical professionals have theorized that the hospital workers negligent actions may have in fact kept the premature baby alive. The refrigerated conditions of the hospital morgue lowered the baby’s body temperature and reduced her brain’s need for oxygen. If this theory is true, it was the baby’s apparent death that saved her life. The miracle of life was brought forth in her death.
For the Christian, the miracle of enteral life was brought forth in the death of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. He lived a sinless life and was put to death to pay the penalty of our sin debt. Christ was raised from dead, demonstrating his deity and power over death. Although raised from the dead, our passage to heaven was purchased by Jesus’ death. Shortly before his death on the cross, he uttered these immortal words, “it is finished,” signifying the transaction had been completed and our sin debt paid in full.
There is nothing the Christian can do procure eternal life. If that were so, Christ’s death would have been wholly unnecessary and meaningless. However to nurture his own spiritual development and maturity, he is called to follow the example of his savior and “die” to his own will and desires. The night before Jesus’ death he prayed to God the Father, ” if you are willing, take this cup [of suffering] from me; yet not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42 NIV).” Hebrews 5:8-9 states, “Although he [referring to Jesus] was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”
Putting to death our own dreams, ambitions and desires can be a painful process. The Apostle Paul was intentional with his choice of language when he told his Galatain readers that he had been “crucified with Christ.” However Paul also realized that it was through his death to self that he would have a greater, more abundant life through Christ.
Do you want to be used mightily for God’s kingdom purposes? You must first be willing to undergo the painful process of the self-death. Christ himself said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24-25) and “whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39).