Posted November 26, 2012
7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
These verses land right in the middle of Paul encouraging & exhorting the church in Rome to live graciously & generously in how they treat others in the body of Christ when there are differences of opinion and debatable issues. In verse 3, he calls us to receive or welcome others because God has welcomed them. How God treats others should speak to how we interact with others! He does the same a few verses later (verse 9) by teaching us that Christ died and lived again so that He would be Lord both of the dead and of the living. What does this mean? God not only welcomes us, but through Christ's death and resurrection now claims lordship over our lives. Basically this means how we live & die matters because we are not our own lords, but Jesus is!
Why do you live?
In light of what God has done for us in Christ, the Christian cannot merely live to himself or die to himself. Everyone (regardless of their faith) will live for something, but the Christian by definition is no longer guided by self and selfish desires, but rather Christ and Christ's desires. Something (or rather Someone) else has laid claim on his/her life, and that changes everything! This includes our horizontal interactions with others around us, shaping things we choose to engage with or not engage with based on how it affects others. Which leads to the next question:
Why do you die?
The same reason you live: to the Lord. To be human is to be frail & finite. It is to know our limitations for time is short and our days our numbered. Christians, however, should have a different perspective on death than the average person. Why? Because we learn that for the Christian, death does not have the last word! God will call those who believe in His Son to join Him in His eternal life. This should fill the Christian heart with hope and joy so that we can say, "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" This frees us to live and die for one purpose: to bring glory to Jesus our Lord. Our "lower case s" stories are quickly fading, but His "capital S" Story goes on and on and on, never ending in its beauty!
Who do you belong to?
If you have been born again and put your trust and confidence in Jesus Christ to save you from your sins, you are not your own! You have been bought with a price: Christ's own blood (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). You've been adopted into a much bigger family with a Perfect Father. Christ's life and death was done in perfect obedience to the Father's will, and God raised Him from the dead. We follow Christ's footsteps as we seek to obey God the Father through the Son by the power of the Spirit, and trust that in our death, God will bring us to life as He did His own Son.
Are you living? Live to the Lord! Are you dying? Die to the Lord! Praise Him for making you His, but also pray and ask that God would glorify Himself through how you live and how you die. Pray that Christ's lordship in your life would continue to claim every square inch of your heart! We are not our own; we are the Lord's...
This week's song was written by Philip Rice, a singer/songwriter & worship leader out of Norman, OK. Blake Studdard played keys, and Chris Clark mixed it. You can hear some music from his band called Visions of Choruses here: http://hearvisions.bandcamp.com/. This week's artwork was created by Jonathan David Lindsey, a graphic designer out of Oklahoma City (http://cargocollective.com/JonathanDavidCreative).