“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Monday, August 11, 2008

Death and Resurrection, Part VIII

…Eternal life and fullness of joy is offered to us, but it is only through death and suffering that we can come to it. It is only through losing ourselves in the One who gave himself unto death for us that we can find our true identities – in Christ. The road to resurrection must pass through the valley of death. But in the end death is overturned and defeated – it serves the greater purpose of making the resurrected life even more full of joy! And that is the beauty of death and resurrection. Death is, in every way, necessary in order for the life that follows to be most full and most complete. We must die to ourselves, even suffer, in order to know and rejoice in Christ most fully. Physical death must come upon the human race, and all of creation in a way, in order for redemption and the new creation to be complete. Christ must die in order for the Great Story to be made perfect with the Great Eucatastrophe of his resurrection.

This teaching saturates the New Testament in so many ways, and if it so fills God’s Word of revelation to us and his own Great Story, we ought to embrace it as a reality in our own lives. In the words of Ravi Zacharias, “Jesus Christ didn’t come into this world to make bad people good, he came into this world to make dead people live.” Let us give up the prideful search for self-glorification and recognize who we are – mere creatures, fallen and sinful every one of us. Let us seek to know Christ by recognizing our sinfulness and brokenness, and our utter dependence on God, on whom all reality is centered and for whom we were made. Let us turn to the humbling and rich truth of the gospel and the cross of Christ, seeking to know him and the power of his resurrection, even sharing his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible we may attain the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:11). Resurrection is coming. Sin and death are swallowed up in the victory of God, and after the passing of a mere vapor we will be raised imperishable and immortal (1 Corinthians 15:52-57), but let us not forget that even now God is raising us from the dead.

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