Romans 6:7-11 - For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death He died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
"Be what you are," people tell us. Or as the folks on Twitter put it, "You do you." But what exactly does that mean? Paul has an odd answer to this question: "You are a dead person. So behave like one." It's startling advice. But it's right there in Romans 6.
I was at a funeral visitation yesterday for an old friend from my former parish. The family had chosen to have the casket open, so people could look at the body one last time. But it didn't look like him, no matter how good the makeup was. That's because he wasn't moving, not the tiniest bit -- not even to breathe. He didn't respond when people looked at him, spoke his name, touched him. Even when people cried, he did nothing. He was clearly dead.
Normally, that wouldn't be a good thing, as we all know -- except in the case Paul is talking about. Paul is talking about being dead to sin. He says, "How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:2b-4).
It sounds like a vivid metaphor. But what if we take it as more than a metaphor -- as a reality? What if the next time temptation comes knocking, we answer, "Nope, can't do it. I'm busy being dead"? What Paul says is true. We are dead -- as far as sin goes at least. We live with the resurrected life of Jesus. And so, God invites us to share in Jesus' life -- to let Him live in and through us, however tentative and baby-like our first steps might be.
We know very well that we still suffer from temptation, and we do sometimes still fall into sin. But when this happens, we are going against our nature; we are in fact behaving rather like zombies, who imitate the way they used to live. Who wants to be a zombie? No thank you! Better to live with Jesus, live in real resurrected life, by the help and grace of God. As Paul writes, "Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death He died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, show me what it means to live as someone who is dead to sin but alive to You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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