Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Three invitations, Part II

The second of the three invitations in this passage is an invitation to life. Let's dive in to John 12:23-28 again!

If you were to compare all of the great religions of this world, they all have something to say about death, and the "hereafter." Muslims believe in Paradise; Hindus believe in multiple heavenly levels, Buddhism teaches there is a state called Nirvana, where there is no suffering, but only because there is no desire or sense of self. There is nothing.

The death that Jesus invites us to, that we studied on Monday, results in life.

            We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just
            as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may
            live a new life. (Romans 6:4)

I remember when our kids were learning about the first law of Thermodynamics; do you recall that principle? It says that mass or energy are never destroyed -- they just change form. As an example, if a piece of oak firewood is burned, its basic elements are not destroyed. Heat releases the gases in the wood and they are turned into energy, warming us as we stand in front of the hearth. Carbon, in the form of the ashes, is left -- but the energy and mass of the wood are not gone; they've merely changed form.
When water evaporates, it is not gone. It's not destroyed. It changes form until it returns to the earth again as rain or sleet or hail.
When we die to ourselves, we don't cease to exist, or go into a great Nothingness. We are changed.
We are transformed.

            He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and
            believes in me will never die. (John 11:26)

Here is another way that we can understand it:

           For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is
           your life, appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory. Put to death, therefore,
           whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil
           desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
           You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also
           rid  yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy
           language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old
           self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in
           knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:3-10)

Jesus truly invites us to Life -- and what a life it is!

           Therefore if anyone be in Christ, he (or she) is a new creature: old things are
           passed away; behold, all things are become new.  (II Corinthians 5:17)



Cathy said...

I am often amazed at how the various readings that I do in the mornings match up with one another. I have a study that is delivered to my email every day, and it meshed perfectly with the topic you discussed here of the invitation to a new life. It was talking about how the gift of God's grace enables us to live that new life. God doesn't just give us all these instructions of what to do or not do, and then leave us to stumble around, trying to figure out how to get to where He says we should be. He gives us His Grace, which gives us the strength to say no to sin, and the forgiveness we need when we fall and say yes to that sin. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of your grace.

Belinda said...

Well said Cathy!!
I remember when my daughter was saved, how her entire being changed. It was as if she was a new person and the burdens she had been carrying were taken away.

I remember the day I was saved, but I don't really think I began acting and living differently because I was ignorant of what it all meant. I had no one to guide me and didn't read my Bible. I hope that in the following years, I have changed to that new life. It's important to me now, that I follow Col 3:3-10.