“I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. The LORD has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.” ~Psalm 118:17-18
This is a phrase I have thought of often over the past few months–living is dying.
In a very real way, from the moment we begin to live, we are dying. Physically, as soon as we exist, we are culpable to degeneration, destruction, and death. Spiritually, we are dead already, though God can work regeneration in a heart even in the womb. Yet, when we come to believe in Christ and thus begin becoming conformed to the law of God written on our hearts, in this way also we are truly dying, though we truly live–dying to self, dying to sin, just as much as our bodies are dying physically. Thus, in two ways even while we live, we are dying.
The apostle Paul frequently uses the language of living and dying in his epistles–for the calling to be a Christian is indeed a matter of life and death. Until our physical deaths, our dying will be incomplete, for it is then that our spirits are made perfect. And at the resurrection, our living will come into its’ fullness, for then death itself shall be made to relinquish its’ last hold upon the saints.
The salvation for us on account of which Christ, our God, was incarnate, walked the earth as a man, suffered, died, was buried, and was raised as the firstfruits was certainly a powerful salvation. The redemption into which we were brought when we were drawn to faith by the power of the Holy Spirit is indeed a redemption beyond the collective imagination of mankind. For, indeed, not only is the believer promised that he shall stand forgiven before the just Creator, not only is he promised that he shall be called a child of God, not only is he promised that he shall dwell forever before the holy throne of God, not only is he promised that, though dying here on earth, he shall live in his spirit and be kept by the power of God, but he is also promised that he shall be raised from the dead by the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead–that his body shall be brought also to life, nevermore to know what it is to be dying. His spirit already has this new life and freedom from death–but his body also shall be set free from the bondage of sin, since death is the curse upon sin–and Christ has borne away every curse upon sin that might otherwise very justly fall upon them.
Without the Scriptures, who would have imagined such a thing as this? Who, apart from the revelation of God, has ever imagined such a complete destruction of death in the history of mankind? Unless the Bible is true, death is merely a normal part of natural existence and there is truly nothing lasting, nothing of permanent value at all, no reason for living, nothing in which to hope–for there is no real, abiding life–there is only dying.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” ~John 1:1-4