No More Dying?

Once we become Christians (however you think that happens) the dying is supossed to stop…right? From that point on in our life with Christ, it is upward and onwarDeath Becomes Med…right? We will have an immunity from the trials and tribulations that plague other people (non-Christians), and we will not have to deal with the little deaths along the rest of our journey in this world…right?

Any Christian worth his or her salt…I take that back, any Christian that has a pulse, knows that those statements are patently false.

St. Paul says in 1st Corinthians 15:29-31, “Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptised on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptised on their behalf? Why am I in peril every hour?  I protest, brethren, by my pride in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die everyday!”

“I die everyday.”   St. Paul knew the power of sin, the flesh and the devil. But he also knew that the power of Christ and His victory over death was the real truth about himself.

As Christians, we are not immune from troubles of life and the little deaths that occur as the result of the whirlwind of sin that we all contribute to and reap the benefits from. Death and dying, for the Christian is not a one time event when you are born again, or when you “accept” Jesus.

As Christians we all accept and reject Jesus each and every day…. many times within a single day, especially for someone like me who’s faith is at times weak at best.

Dying and rising (‘being raised’- to be more accurate) is the shape of the Christian’s life. Repentance and forgiveness…dying and rising, these are synonymous. This dying and rising is the process that we go through. It is the race that we run. But we don’t run it alone. We don’t go through it alone. Our Lord is right there to carry us along the way. We are carried in the forgiveness of sins, in our baptisms, like a boat carries you along through the water. And along the journey we are fed by His Word and His Holy Supper. And along the journey we return to our baptism, daily (as Luther said), and that is not hard for us to do because it is the boat in which we travel.

 Baptism is not a one time event that we do, or that is done to us by a pastor, priest, or minister, it is something tangible, done to us by God Himself. Baptism moves with us through life and carrries us though life. It promises us and gives us new life…over, and over, and over again, as we need it, each day, everytime the circumstances of life, or the results of our own sin, or the sin of others, or the work of the devil, bring us to the point of death. And again we are washed clean and riased  with Him to new life.

I think the advocates of ‘after you are born again, there is no more dying’  defend their point of view because they somehow believe it is preserving God’s power.  I think, that they think, that if you believe in a cycle of dying and rising that somehow God’s power hasn’t really been enough to squash the powers of darkness and evil in the world. Also, if you believe that salvation is a process, you somehow are tying this in to man’s efforts to save himself. I think they believe these things because they fail to recognize the paradox that is the life of faith. What apprears to be so, really isn’t, and vice verse.  Failure to recognize the paradoxes in Christianity will naturally bring about a desire to nail everything to the floor and make it understandable.

The one thing that all of us ought to remember is that God’s ways are certainlly not our ways.

Do I know everything about God and the Christian faith? Hah! That’s a good one! Of course I don’t. I’m going by what I have been taught, what is in scripture, and of course what the Spirit of God reveals to me as truth.

I always appreciate it when someone is able to straighten me out when I might be in error. So here’s your chance to do something good for a brother in Christ! Thanks!

   – Steve Martin