"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." ~ 1 Peter 3:15-16

Dying Like Christ

There are two deaths and two resurrections that the believer will experience. Firstly, the spiritual. Secondly, the physical. 

When we first renounced our sins and place our faith in Christ the Messiah, we are called to die a spiritual death and to be raised up spiritually through the indwelling of the same Spirit who raised Jesus (Rom 8:11). In christian sub-cultures, we may sometimes refer to this spiritual death and resurrection as being born again (John 3:14), saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8), a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), or transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light (Col 1:13) etc. Basically they all mean the same thing, that Christ lives in the believer (Gal 2:20). And this spiritual death and resurrection is witnessed outwardly by going under the water baptism (death) and coming out of the water baptism (resurrection). The water baptism is actually a re-telling of Christ’s death and resurrection (Rom 6:3-5).

Then there is the physical death that all of us have to face some day, unless of course if you are living in the last of the last days. The other known exceptions are Enoch and Elijah, who did not face death, because of their intimacy with God. And there is a third death mentioned in the Scripture known as “second death” (Rev 2:11, Rev 20:6,14, and Rev 21:8), which the believer will not experience. So we always see that death precedes resurrection. Resurrection comes only after death. Even in God’ creation, the light came after the darkness. And there was evening, and there was morning. Likewise, when Jesus was hung on the cross, darkness was over the land. And this order of light after darkness applies to our christian living, which is primarily about dying to self so that Christ may increase.

Sometimes the duration of dying to self seems longer than usual, other times the deliverance comes almost immediately. But if there is no dying, there is no resurrection. If there is no brokenness in our spirits, there is no power from His Spirit. As pearls are formed though irritation, the journey of dying is a prelude to abundant and victorious living, just as how Christ emerged victorious after the crucifiction. If we want the victorious life offered in Christ, we will have to walk through the narrow gate and continues on the path of dying to self. There is no other way. The paradox of life and death can only be understood fully when we arrive in the kingdom of heaven proper.

Are we dying like Christ did voluntarily? The rest will follow.