Summary: The Apostle Paul said it was not any longer Paul that lived but Christ that lived in him. What does it mean to be die so Christ can live?
Dead Man Walking
In some of the Death Rows in the USA – when a prisoner is taken to be executed the guard that leads the procession shouts out, “dead man walking”. It means, get out of the way this man is on his way to his execution. Have some respect and stand or give a last word of encouragement for he is about to leave this life.
For a few minutes this morning I want us to look at our life in Christ as the Apostle Paul understood it. God uses pictures to help us grasp spiritual realities so that we can understand His ways. This particular picture is founded in the words of Christ. Luke 9:23-26 When a Roman official sentenced a man to death he would shout, “Put the cross on the man”! The cross beam was strapped to his arms and the victim had to carry it to the sight of the crucifixion. When Jesus says take up your cross every day, He is telling us to consider ourselves Dead Men Walking. The sentence of death each day is accepted and we are dead men.
Romans 6:1-3 Your baptism was picture of your crucifixion and burial with Christ. When you came to Christ you were to repent – turn away from – the ways of the old nature. You were to see it put to death with Christ upon the cross. I think we don’t realize the finality of this. Failure to realize this is where modern Christianity turns into a club of people that are little different from the world. Do you know that today there is a higher percentage of a divorce among Evangelicals in America than among atheists? What is wrong with this picture?
Do dead men hold grudges? Insist on having things their way? Demand their rights? But here is the problem, we aren’t dead. No, we are very much alive and demanding our own ways, refusing to change, to be loving and considerate because the old nature doesn’t want to give in inch. All the old nature can do is take. Even what appears to be giving is so it can take more later. What did Jesus say back there in Lk 9? We’re still trying to save our life, gain the world. Jesus says that is the sure way to loose it all.
But if we die, then there is the promise of real life, resurrected life. Ro 6:4-11. Many Christians don’t find the power of the resurrection in their life because they have never died. Look at verse 5 again. If – then! If you died with Him you will be raised with Him, not only one day at the last trump, but right now in this life. Ro 8:11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies! Your mortal body is now not then. Go back to Ro 6:6,7 – see- no longer a slave but freed. Are you freed? If there is habitual repeating of the same sin in your life, then you have not been freed from the master – the carnal nature. It is still a hard demanding master. It shouts “me” “I want” “I deserve” And when you wake up in the morning and consider taking up the cross that master screams – “NO!!!” and gives you a million great reasons why not to.
But let us consider the example of the One who took up his cross daily. From the time He was born He was on His way to Galgotha (the place He was crucified) because He was crucified before the foundation of the world was laid. Early in the morning, while it was still dark He rose and picked up that beam. In prayer He said to the Father each day, “not my will but yours be done.” And because He said it each day, the hour of temptation in the Garden came and He could say it again.