Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
The New Testament speaks of following Christ as a new life. The former life is left behind and there is a cosmic shift in which one who choses to follow the way of Jesus is transformed. The writers commonly refer to ‘death’ of the old self, and the ‘new birth’ of a new individual.
Paul makes this statement:
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 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. (Romans 5:5-11)
But my struggle is this: How do I die? Well, how do I make this ‘death’ idea meet reality?
My soul, it longs for the warmth and love of the new life, as experienced by so many of my Christian brothers and sisters.
To this end, I prayed to the Lord, and I asked him how to die. Maybe a new prayer would do the trick, or an ascetic practice, or fasting, or some other form of self-renunciation will cause this dying.
Yet this is not what the Lord said to me.
Instead he pointed me towards this verse:
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? (2 Corithians 3:7-8)
So the pathway to death is bound in the story of God, the giving of his law to the people. How comforting, to know that one can be consumed with God at any point along the journey.
But what does that mean, here, now. Ok so the law brings me to death, so that I may receive new life.
I think, right now, that means remembering the root of the law:
How can it fail to kill the self? It seems plain to me. Maybe that’s because I asked to Lord to reveal it to me.
But tomorrow morning, the rubber will meet the road, I will encounter a day of lectures and work and socialising and fun.
And I want to love God, and love others.
If God has shown me this much, perhaps I can ask more of Him? What if I ask him to show me, specifically, how to love Him and others in my immediate context – college life.
God seems to have been gracious to me thus far.
Those two words contradict: how can you be heavenly yet my father?
All praise and glory to you, for your mercy and grace
You have shown me the path to death, the road I must travel
Let me freely and joyfully surrender my life
In service of you and others
And assume the identity of Christ
To experience the new life
The next breath
Show me, gracious master
The way of death, today,
What it means, here and now
That I might be united with you
For your glory