“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Cor. 5:14-15
There are many people who are believers in Jesus yet that belief has had very little impact upon their lives. To many, life as we know it and a life of faith in Jesus seem to have very little correlation. Faith in Christ seems to have future benefits such as an eternity in heaven but, other than that, what does it mean to be a believer in Jesus? Doesn’t that mean that I believe He lived and was the Son of God? Other than that, and some guidelines for good behavior He gave in His teachings, what does a life lived in faith look like? Isn’t believing He is the Son of God and that God raised Him from the dead all that is required to be a Christian?
Let’s begin to answer that question by looking at the scripture we read from 2 Corinthians.
The scripture tells us that Jesus died for all. Isn’t that the story of Good Friday? It also says that He rose from the dead for all. Isn’t that the essence of Easter?
Then this scripture goes on to tell us what this means for those who have faith in Christ.
- Those who believe in Jesus died with Him.
What does the Bible teach us is the consequences for even one sin?
Genesis 2:16-17: “And the Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Jesus didn’t have any sin for which payment was required. Therefore, the death He died on the cross was substitutionary: it was in payment for the sins I committed.
But, there is more. Not only did Jesus die, but through faith in His substitutionary death, I died with Him!
Romans 6:1-3: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”
Real faith in Christ not only leads to forgiveness but to death of the old life! Now, if the old me is dead, what changes does that bring for me? Freedom from the consequences of the sins of the old life. Freedom from whatever addictions and problems the old me had. Parkey Cobern, the sinner is dead!
- Through faith in Jesus, I am raised from the dead.
Romans 6:4: “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
You can’t be resurrected until you die. But if you die in Christ, then resurrection is a certainty – it is a work of God! You may look the same; you may live at the same house and work the same place. Jesus looked the same. He lived at the same place after His resurrection. He had the same family. But, through death, the power of death was destroyed off of Him and while He lived in the physical realm, it did not control Him!
Did you die? If not, then you aren’t saved!
- Those who are raised do not live as before.
Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Look at yourself in the mirror. If you died, then who is staring back at you? Christ is!
No, I’m not saying that you are the Messiah and the King of Heaven and Earth. I’m saying that you couldn’t be resurrected as the old you. Who was resurrected on Easter?
Jesus was! Therefore, if the old you died with Christ and you are raised to life again with Christ, then the life that is living is a new life – one that is free to deny sin and live in the power of the Holy Spirit!
If you were addicted before, you’re not now. The person you see in the mirror is alive by the Spirit of Christ and lives in the Spirit of Christ and Christ is not addicted to anything other than the will of His Father!
Romans 6:5-9: “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”
Romans 6:14: “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
Temptations come. Sins occur. But, in the life of the believer, so does repentance and freedom! I cannot live under grace and live in constant sin at the same time.
“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” 1 John 3:9
The Holy Spirit destroys the actions of some sin instantly. Other times, He lays siege against them, bringing them down piece by piece, but the result is ultimately the same: freedom! If I’m truly saved, sin cannot stay in control!
If you are alive in Christ, you are not on the broad road to destruction but on the narrow way of salvation and life! I know you see “you” in the mirror, but look closer – Christ is there; living inside of you. Your life is a new one – lived in the One who brought you back to life!
1 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”