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.
(Rom. 6:6 ESV)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20 ESV)
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the
dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. (Rom. 7:4 ESV)
The colors weren’t the best either, but who’s looking at the sheets when you’re sleeping? Right? The pack even had four pillow cases. What a deal!
So, I bought two sets. I picked out two different colors just in case we really got tired of the one (more like sick of the one). Needless to say, Lynn was not as impressed with the deal as I was. And now, I’m not so thrilled fighting an extra 50 yards of sheet at night. This probably was not one of my better ideas.
Sometimes as ministers of the gospel, we throw out statements like king size sheets and we really should have used full size sheets instead. Take for instance what I’ve said at times when I’m wearing my evangelism cap. I have said things that basically added up to “Jesus died so you wouldn’t have to.” Now on one level this is true. Christ came to be a substitute and took on the punishment for the child of God to save him or her from the wrath to come—the second death. That much is true.
However, to communicate this as a blanket statement (king size sheets) is not true at all. Throughout the New Testament, it is very clear that if you want to have eternal life, you will have to die. Jesus constantly announced: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). That’s sounds pretty much like dying.
And what are we to die to? Two things: the law and ourselves. We die to the law because of the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands (Col. 2:14) and anyone who wants to live by the law is required to keep the entire law (Gal. 5:3) which none of us can do. So we die to the law in order that we might be espoused to another—Jesus Christ.
Secondly, we die to self. We count everything that we have and are as trash and manure in exchange for the surpassing wealth of the knowledge of and faith in Jesus (Phil. 3:4-11). And since sin is still present in the life of the saint, we put to death the old man within so that we may walk in a way that is worthy of our high calling.
Jim Elliot, missionary to the Auca Indians of Ecuador, wrote in his journal these now famous words: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” This is the message all of us need to proclaim from day one as we talk with others about the gospel.
I’ve been misleading, probably with many, and I deeply regret that. I will be tweaking what I say and how I say it. The call to come to Jesus Christ is a call to come and die.
And yes, not getting this message right is more serious than buying king size sheets for a full size bed.