Monday, April 20, 2015

"Just like a zombie!"

"Just like a zombie!" 
"Um, no, not at all like a zombie." 
Talking to kids about huge spiritual things is always a joy. Recently, while talking about baptism with a 6 year old, I explained the picture of being buried with Christ in going under the water and being raised with Christ in rising out of the water. I used my hand as the surface of the water; he held his finger up beside my hand, went under and came back up. I said, "See, it's like going under --being buried-- and then coming up --rising from the grave..." Then, the short exchange found above.
See, dear friend, God does not raise the dead to death; He raises the dead to life!
Okay, let's be sure we understand it; we absolutely are spiritually dead without the quickening of God.
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1 ESV)
"...even when we were dead in our trespasses..." (Ephesians 2:5a ESV)
"And you, who were dead in your trespasses..." (Colossians 2:13a ESV)
There's no way to come alive on our own. We need God. We need to know God and have His supernatural power do a work in our natural flesh. The cross of Jesus, in paying the debt for our sins, makes peace with God for all who will receive it. That peace grants us access to the mighty, resurrecting power of God. Jesus defeated death in that resurrecting power, and He rose from the grave. When we believe on the name of Jesus, and receive Him, we are given access to God the Father by God the Son, and thus are given the right to be sons of God, fellow heirs with Jesus. However, dead things don't get a living inheritance, so God the Father sends God the Spirit to quicken us --make us alive!
God does not make us alive so that we might continue in the mindless pursuit of our flesh's desire. No, God makes us alive for life, and for Life; God makes us alive that His Life might be alive in our lives.
That Life joins our once dead spirit with His living Spirit. His life comes to live in our lives, so that our lives, EVEN IN THE FLESH, take on a new direction, new purpose, new LIFE.
"God made alive together with Him..." (Colossians 2:13b ESV)
"...made us alive together with Christ..." (Ephesians 2:5b ESV)
"...and raised us up with Him..." (Ephesians 2:6a ESV)
It reminds me of the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. The man never bodily died, but he was dead in his relationship with his father and dead in his spiritual relationship with The Father. When he came to himself, repented, turned to God and returned home to his father, his earthly dad said, "For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate." (Luke 15:24) Don't you love how that sentence ends? "And they began to celebrate." The New Living Translation says, "So the party began." And, that son’s life was changed. He did not live or think or act as he once did. It was a new deal, a new day and a new life!
No, friend, God does not grant spiritual life in the way we think of zombies. The life He grants the redeemed is the Life of His Son.
My young friend was a bit disappointed to learn the redeemed are not zombies. He thinks zombies are "neat" (as he says). He will learn. He'll discover that what God offers is a gajillion times better than the idea of zombies.
I pray we learn it too. I pray we stop mistaking Life from God as the excuse to keep living in dead works. God doesn't offer us heaven absent of His Life. He offers us His Life now, that we might be made fit to enter heaven, for it is a place for people with His Life.
Friends, everyone is born dead in sins and trespasses, cut off from God and His promises. It takes yielding to Him in Christ Jesus to change that. For those who come to Him, it's not just that new life is possible, but necessary, and resultant.
Those made alive are made alive to live our Jesus's Life in their lives. We are not the walking dead! We are not mindlessly in pursuit of fulfilling our desires! That's what we WERE, and if someone still IS that, but claims to be alive in Christ, well, that's what we call a lie, or, in the minimum, a self-deception.

Friends, God gives us His Life that we made be alive!
Is Jesus's Life alive in you?

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