Let’s talk about death and dying. Let’s go back a few verses in the Amplified Version of the Bible at Hebrews 9:24-28, with the focus on dying.
Hebrews 9:26-28New King James Version (NKJV)
26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation
24 For Christ (the Messiah) has not entered into a sanctuary made with [human] hands, only a copy and pattern and type of the true one, but [He has entered] into heaven itself, now to appear in the [very] presence of God on our behalf.If I call myself a Follower of Christ and, indeed, I am a follower of Christ, then I am called to do as Christ did. The popular phrase, “What Would Jesus Do,” takes on a deeper significance to me, especially in the area of dying.
25 Nor did He [enter into the heavenly sanctuary to] offer Himself regularly again and again, as the high priest enters the [Holy of] Holies every year with blood not his own.
26 For then would He often have had to suffer [over and over again] since the foundation of the world. But as it now is, He has once for all at the consummation and close of the ages appeared to put away and abolish sin by His sacrifice [of Himself].
27 And just as it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgment,
28 Even so it is that Christ, having been offered to take upon Himself and bear as a burden the sins of many once and once for all, will appear a second time, not to carry any burden of sin nor to deal with sin, but to bring to full salvation those who are [eagerly, constantly, and patiently] waiting for and expecting Him.
What does this dying look like in reality? How do I “wear” this death?
Romans 6:5-7Amplified Bible (AMP)
5 For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].
6 We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.
7 For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].
Does a dead person feel anything? Does a dead person hurt anyone? Does a dead person care what happens to them? Does a dead person have an agenda? Does a dead person control or manipulate? Does a dead person fail in anyway? Does a dead person disappoint? Does a dead person sin? Does a dead person know or care when they are rejected? Does anyone even have the power to reject a dead person??
I begin to see how liberating it is to die. I begin to understand how the success of a relationship, especially my marriage, depends on me dying. Marriage is only completely successful when both spouses are dead.
Don’t laugh, even though the statement leads one to think that the only way a marriage works is if both are dead, literally. In other words, marriage is doomed to fail if we are breathing.
That’s actually true and is the exact reason why each Follower of Christ has died to themselves. Because I have died to my own will and way – crucified with Christ -- Christ has resurrected me with Himself into a new life, free from the bondage of sin. When temptation knocks on my door, my response must be, “Don’t you see that door is closed? Go away. That part of me is dead! I am in Christ, I am surrounded by Christ, I belong to Christ and I choose not to open the door to you ever again.”
I told you! Death is liberating!
In my marriage, as a dead person, I am to always “do what Jesus would do.”
In my life, 24/7, I am dead to myself and alive and controlled by the Holy Spirit. That is my choice.
I choose to be dead to myself each and every day.
I choose to honor.
I choose to respect.
I choose to be an emptied vessel for Jesus.
I choose to have no agenda, except His.
I choose to never try to control or manipulate.
I choose to accept and love my spouse.
I choose to serve.
I choose to encourage.
I choose to guard my heart from sin.
I choose to have no opinion of my own outside of the will of God.
I choose to die.
THESE ARE ALL THINGS CHRIST DID FOR ME AND MUCH MORE….. which answers the question, “What Would Jesus Do?”
Only in my choice to die is there abundant life for me in Christ Jesus.
Until I die to myself, I cannot be resurrected to follow Jesus.
I do not want to go anywhere without my LORD, my Master, my Savior.
My identity is in Christ.
My personality is in Christ…..
Remember, it is appointed unto man, only once to die. (Hebrews 9:27) When I die to myself, when I have been crucified with Christ, I will never die again. I will never be dead again. I cannot ever be dead again. It is written: It is appointed unto man, once to die. Jesus only died once and He has promised that I can only die once. I have done that. I have died to myself and given my whole being, body, mind, heart and soul, to Him and HE has raised me up a new person alive for His purpose and plan, never to die again. You may take my body, but you cannot kill me!! I have already died!!
Romans 6:5-7New King James Version (NKJV)
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 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.
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
Acts 17:31Amplified Bible (AMP)
31 Because He has fixed a day when He will judge the world righteously (justly) by a Man Whom He has destined and appointed for that task, and He has made this credible and given conviction and assurance and evidence to everyone by raising Him from the dead.