Saturday, April 23, 2011

Living in the Death

Earlier this week, a former professor and friend made a comment that gave me pause. "Remember," he said. "The longest part of Easter weekend is living in the death of Christ." It's true. We remember Good Friday in solemness and rejoice on Easter Sunday in celebration. But what do we do on Saturday?

We live in the death of our Savior.

While reflecting on the death of Jesus last night at service, the pastor mentioned how we always focus on how much the Father loves us as shown through the sacrifice of His son, but we are uncomfortable acknowledging the anger of God. God is angry at sin, and our choices of sin. His anger was brutally displayed on Good Friday. Good Friday was good in the sense of how Jesus was our atonement for our sin, but the process of taking on such atonement was not "good." It was brutal and shameful and unthinkably horrific.

"For thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath by breaking the covenant, yet I will remember...and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant. Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed... I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord God, that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you all that you have done."
Ezekiel 16:59-63

In order to embrace our much our Father loves us, we need to acknowledge His anger. In order to understand salvation, we need to comprehend our depravity. We cannot take one without the other.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Romans 3:23

Around Easter, we spend a lot of time reflecting on grace. And this is so important. But we also need to remember how much we desperately need God. We cannot just accept salvation and move on with our lives as if nothing has changed. Jesus tells us again and again that we must die to self in order to follow Him. And I think that's why so many people accept salvation at one time, and then walk away later in life. Because dying to death -- living in the death -- requires sacrifice and change and hardship. And sometimes, it seems that the narrow road is just too hard. Dying to ourselves actually gives us freedom in Christ, and we embrace the life that we were designed for.

So that's what I mean when I say, "Living in the Death." On this Easter Saturday, ask God to help you fully grasp how dying to self actually lets you live, and ask Him to reveal where exactly you need to die to self each day.

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever saves his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
Matthew 16:24-25


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