Summary: As a Christian, we must strive to allow our earthly nature to become extinct.
What would you say the following list of items have in common? The Yellow pages. Movie rental stores. Dial-up internet service. The VCR and telephone answering machines. If you guessed “things going extinct” then you would be correct.
Much like the dodo bird, dinosaurs and the saber-toothed tiger, due to the various changes in our world, some things and some species died out. IN the case of our list, advancements in technology make things obsolete.
Our spiritual life is no different. When we repented of our sins and accepted Jesus Christ as our savior becoming a Christian, something in our own lives became extinct.
The word extinct means, “no longer in existence or in use,” “no longer active,” and “has ended or died out.”Even the synonym of this word is powerful such as “gone,” “Defunct,” “vanished,” and “dead.” So, it is safe to say that if something is extinct it’s gone and nowhere to be found!
The moment we became a Christian all our former ways of living died. All our connections to this world now cease to exist. All of our associations to what we were before our conversion have become extinct.
What Paul is referring to in regards to this type of death is literally saying “Now, I will have no further relation or association” with my past. Verse 20, says “I have been crucified with Christ.”
Paul says that when we accept Christ as our Savior, our life symbolically dies on the cross with him. In other words, because of Jesus, all the sinful corruption of our previous life becomes extinct and should remain so.
We become totally estranged from all our habits, ways of thinking and actions. We become a new person in Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
We fall under a new standard and a new way to live. We accept Christ then we accept his ways. One way to look at this is theologian Matthew Henry, who said, “Just as a person who becomes a citizen of the United States has decided to live within the historical reality created by events in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, so the person who becomes identified with Christ has decided to live within the new historical reality created by the events of the cross of Christ and his resurrection.”
As a citizen of the United States, we live and guide our lives according to the constitution and her laws. The same is true for the Christian who must submit to God through obedience to his will, his plans for us and to all of his instructions and expectations contained in Scripture.
I believe there is one place we can all start to begin working together to “Become extinct” towards our former life. That is: forsaking the world. The first step in “becoming extinct” is letting go of this world and forsaking the pursuit of all its temporary things.
Romans 12:2, “ Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
This verse connects with verse 20 of Galatians 2, that says, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” We are no longer fueled by our own egos living in obedience to fulfill all our selfish passions and desires.
Jesus Christ is now the center of our lives and must live in obedience and in allegiance to him. The world is no longer our main concern. 1 John 2:15, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you….” Colossians 3:3&5, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God….Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature.”
We must live within this world in such a way that we, don’t, as verse 21 says, “… set aside the grace of God,” so that it doesn’t make it seem that “Christ died in vain.”
What that means for us is that we shouldn’t live so recklessly that it makes it appear to others that Jesus died needlessly or in vain. We should never have so much “world” in our lives that we give others the impression that the death of Jesus on the Cross was useless.
We cannot and should not send out “mixed messages” to the world leaving them confused as to whether or not we “really” are Christians. Everything about how we live and interact within our world must exemplify Christ.
Our challenge is to loosen our grip upon the things of this world that compete for our full devotion and loyalty to Jesus Christ.