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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Wednesday-Dead is Dead

 

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?

 

Galatians 2:20,21

 

Eventually we’re all going to get the call. My first experience with the call came on April 27, 2015. I got a voice message from my mom’s cell phone, but it wasn’t her voice. It was a man’s voice, which really startled me. It was our relative Dominic and he wanted me to call him back right away.

 

As you can imagine, I didn’t waste any time. Dominic answered, and that sent my blood pressure even hire. He told me that my brother Don had died. They found him dead on the floor at work, probably from a massive heart attack.

 

I just couldn’t believe it. He wasn’t even 70. He had always been so strong. So healthy. So active. Yes, he was overweight, but dead? I had screwed up my courage expecting to hear about one of my parents. But not Don. The only thing that kept going through my mind was that this was some kind of really cruel joke. Someone was playing a game with me. It must be some sort of elaborate hoax or scam.

 

The call about Don was very different from the calls about my parents. My mom was 96 and my dad was 101 when I got the call. As you can imagine, their health had been sliding downhill for some time. When you hear the words that they’re dead, that’s it. There’s no going back. There’s no court of appeal. There’s no one who can change it. You might be shocked. You might be expecting it. It makes no difference. Dead is dead, and that’s it.

 

It’s with this same certainty that Paul talks about the Colossians and their turning to Christ. When they gave their lives and all their sin to Jesus, he accepted it. He took it. On the cross, he paid for it all.

 

One of the immediate results was that while they were made alive with Jesus, that also made them dead to all the simple ideas about spirituality. You can be dead to both, but not alive to both. It’s like what Abraham Lincoln said, “Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for, and against the same thing at the same time.[1]

 

Paul’s putting the final nail in the coffin of the idea that we can make God happy based on our actions and performance. That God will like us because of what we did. What we said. What we touched. What we ate. No matter what you think, death always, always, always means separation. Separation from life. Separation from loved ones. Death also points to our complete and eternal separation from God.

 

But the death of Christ does just the opposite. His death on the cross brings us back together with our creator God. He takes our separation and punishment on himself so we can be reunited with the one who made us. The one who loves us.

 

And our death in Christ, the death that makes us alive again, also makes us dead to the things that are against him. We’re separated from all those things once and for all. Since we’re alive in Jesus, we must be dead to all the other things.

 

You can’t do both at the same time. It’s like saying that you’re on a diet while stuffing a bagel that’s loaded with full-fat cream cheese. It’s like saying that you’re working hard to reduce your blood sugar while eating a baker’s dozen of doughnuts.

 

When we’re dead to those things, there’s no more jumping up and down, trying desperately to get God’s attention. To make ourselves likeable to him. Trying to clean up our act before a completely holy and pure God while we’re wallowing in the mud with the pigs.

 

In Christ Jesus we’re made completely new[2]. We’ve been from the dead to newness of life[3]. We’ve been made into a new creation[4]. We’ve been given a new self that we’re to put on[5]. We’ve been raised to life, free from the power of sin[6]. The list could go on and on.

 

So, since we’re dead to all those old things, Paul’s asking the Colossians why they’re still messing around with all those dead things. If they’re dead to them in Jesus, and they are, why be bothered with them?

 

Yes, dead is dead. There’s no getting around it. In Jesus we’re dead to all those ideas where we burn ourselves out trying to get God to love us. To somehow prove to God that we’re worth his attention. Worth his love.

 

The simple truth is that we’re not. So, we need to get over ourselves and put all our trust and weight on Jesus. He’s the ultimate proof of God’s unconditional love for you and me. Dead may be dead, but alive is always and only in Jesus.

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • Describe the last call you got about someone close to you being dead.

  • If death is so hard for us, how do you think God feels about it?

  • How does the death of Christ speak to us about God’s feelings about death?


[1] Meditation on the Divine Will, September 2, 1862

[2] 2 Corinthians 5:15

[3] Romans 6:4

[4] Galatians 6:15

[5] Ephesians 4:24

[6] Romans 6:5-8

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