Is the Virus Scaring You?
Death is a terrifying prospect. Imagine ceasing to exist. Imagine the horror of closing your eyes, the world slowly dimming into blackness, and that's it. The world still goes on - cardinals still dance with one another, people still laugh until milk spews from their nose, oleanders still bloom in July - only without you. You're not asleep. You're just...not.
It was through such a terrifying realization that a friend of mine found his way to Christ. He was so paralyzed by the thought of death that he couldn't function. It was this despair that drove him to Christ. In the love and life of Jesus, he found hope. He discovered that for all those who are in Christ, death is not the end. For in Christ...
However, this victory over death comes only by death.
Speaking of Jesus, Paul says in Romans 6:5, "For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his."
Throughout the book of Romans, Paul is clear that the hope of overcoming bitter death and being resurrected one day, only comes by being willing to identify ourselves with the death of Jesus. It is only available to those who are "united with him in a death like his."
So, what is this death like? Paul says it is a death to sin. "We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him (Rom. 6:6-8)."
The death is a death to sin and selfish living.
But let's be honest, sin is fun! Recently in the news, a large group of college students refused to leave the beaches of Miami, Florida because they wanted to have their Spring Break fun. Even with the Coronavirus looming in the air, the prospect of death on their doorstep, these college students choose good ol' sin and selfishness. One of them has even become mildly famous (or rather infamous) for saying, "If I get Corona, I get Corona." Currently, many of those same college students have been diagnosed with and are suffering from the virus.
Now, before you say, "Those stupid kids," turn the camera around on yourself, because that's human nature baby! Even Paul struggled with it. "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate (Rom. 7:15)."
But scripture is clear that this way of living - that old, sinful, selfish life - will lead to death. It may be fun, for a while, but eventually Spring Break ends. When we choose to follow Christ, we are asked to give up a whole lot. We are asked to leave our old self behind and change, but the benefit of doing that will be far greater than anything we are asked to give up.
Our only hope is crucifixion.
Christ crucified is our hope. Walking the stony path up Calvary's hill and joining Christ on the cross is our only hope to escape the clutches of death. Because, once again, "if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." The cross wasn't the end for Jesus and it doesn't have to be the end for you either.
The virus, as frightening as it is, does not have the power over life and death. The real power is in Christ Jesus. If you will place yourself in the death and life of Christ, you can have victory over the virus.