Death to Life

There’s just something about fall that I love. Maybe it’s the cooler weather, or the sense of anticipation and new beginnings as children go back to school again. Perhaps it’s the colors, or simply the memories. As a child, my family and I used to catch leaves in the schoolyard nearby. We would stand for hours, our necks craned as we watched for the leaves to fall, waiting for a gust of wind to blow them gently downwards so we could catch them. I remember making leaf forts, and jumping in them, and the smell of woodsmoke in the air as we went on bike rides in the crisp air.

There is also a sense of sadness about the fall season, for with it comes the end of warm summer days, and a knowing that the days will keep getting darker until the spring, and the leaves will curl up, and eventually drop off altogether, leaving the trees’ newly skeletal forms behind.

When we look in the Bible, we see that death and life are very connected. At the sin of Adam and Eve, the world was plunged into death; first spiritual death, then physical death. In order to receive forgiveness of sins, the Israelites would need to sacrifice an animal, for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Then Christ comes and sheds His blood for us on the Cross, and is raised again, thus ensuring eternal life for many who believe in His Name (Rom 5:17). Now we share in His death and life, for when we have faith in Christ, His death is our death, and His life is our life (Rom 6:5). We are dead to sin, meaning that it no longer has power over us, and are alive to righteousness, so that we can live holy lives, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Rejoice in this, Christian! We are alive! And one day we will be alive forever with Christ, and we will see Him face to face, and we will be like Him (1 John 3:2).

So in light of this truth; that we have been brought from death to life, what does this mean for us today? How do I grasp this truth with both hands, when I see death all around me? When I look into the hopeless eyes of the people I encounter. When I hear reports of deaths from the coronavirus, and of murders, and countless other effects of sin. When I am wearied by my own remaining sin. When I am heavy from the demands of this life, and the decisions that need to be wrestled through.

After the long winter is over, the snow melts away, the buds slowly appear, and the hope of spring is fulfilled. The days get warmer, and the ‘season of singing’ is here (Song of Solomon 2:12). Friend, do you realize that if you are in Christ, your springtime is already here, and will never leave? You have the promise of abundant life, and yet what we have tasted in this life is nothing compared to what we will have in the next. Oh, that we would lay down our lives, our ‘grain of wheat’, and die to our dreams and expectations of what we want in this life. For it is only when we are living for His kingdom that we will find our life, and bear fruit for His name (Matt 16:25).

You are going now,” said they, “to the Paradise of God; wherein you shall see the tree of life, and eat of the never fading fruits thereof. And when you come there, you shall have white robes given you; and your walk and talk shall be every day with the King, even all the days of eternity.

There you shall not see again such things as you saw when you were in the lower region upon the earth: to wit, sorrow, sickness, affliction, and death; for the former things are passed away.’

John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress

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