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. 8 But now you must also
rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy
language from your lips. 9 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)