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The paradox of life through death: Embracing our spiritual journey

iStock/shuang paul wang
iStock/shuang paul wang

In the contemplative shadows of the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus faced a profound truth that forms the cornerstone of Christian theology: to fulfill His divine mission, He had to embrace death — not just in physical form, but also by surrendering His will to the Father's. This dual act of dying, once in a garden and once on a cross, underscores a mystical yet fundamental principle of Christianity: to gain life, one must first lose it. This principle, though seemingly paradoxical to those who know only earthly life, illuminates the path every believer is called to tread.

Understanding the necessity of Jesus's death

Jesus, the embodiment of life itself, facing death is a profound paradox. As believers, we acknowledge that God did not create death; rather, it entered the world as a consequence of sin, an artifact of the enemy's influence over humanity. Jesus’s mission on Earth was not only to preach the Kingdom of God but also to break the chains of death that bound humanity. His death on the cross was the ultimate act of victory over this ancient foe, a necessary passage to defeat the power of sin and death.

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The crucifixion, a seemingly tragic end, was essential for the resurrection to occur — a triumphant affirmation that life, not death, is God's final word for humanity. In His resurrection, Jesus did not merely return to earthly life but emerged with a glorified body, embodying the full power of God. This transformation is pivotal, for it not only marked the completion of His earthly mission but also enabled the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon His disciples, empowering them in ways previously unimaginable.

The call to die to self

The Christian journey mirrors the path Christ walked. Just as Jesus surrendered His will in the garden before His crucifixion, we, too, are called to die to ourselves. This “death to self” is not a physical demise but an ongoing process of yielding our desires, ambitions, and human will to God's higher purpose. It involves a daily, conscious decision to forsake our selfish inclinations for a life that reflects Christ's love and obedience to God.

Dying to self is fundamental because it aligns us with the transformative work of the Holy Spirit. It is in laying down our lives that we find the true essence of life as Christ intends it — rich, purposeful, and eternal. This spiritual death paves the way for the Holy Spirit to work within us, molding our character and empowering us for the mission God has entrusted to us.

The promise of eternal life and a new body

The hope of Christianity extends beyond the temporal confines of this world. As believers, we hold fast to the promise of resurrection, not just as a historical event that occurred two thousand years ago, but as a personal reality. Our physical death is not an end but a doorway to a new existence. We are promised a new, glorified body free from sin and decay, akin to what Jesus received at His resurrection.

This glorified body is not merely a restoration of our former selves but an upgrade to an incorruptible state, designed for eternal life. The implications of this transformation are staggering we will exist in a state that is no longer susceptible to pain, aging, or death, fully equipped to enjoy the eternal presence of God.

The power of the Holy Spirit in Christian life

The Holy Spirit’s role in the life of a believer cannot be overstated. Post-resurrection, Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to His followers — a gift that radically transformed them. The disciples, once timid and uncertain, became bold proclaimers of the Gospel, even unto death. This same Spirit is available to us today, offering guidance, wisdom, and the strength to face the trials and tribulations of life.

The Holy Spirit continually works within us, enabling us to bear spiritual fruit and equipping us to carry out the Great Commission. Through the Spirit, we receive the power to demonstrate the reality of the Gospel through our lives and our words, impacting those around us.

Looking forward with hope

As believers, our perspective on life and death is radically different. We view our earthly challenges and inevitable physical death not as final defeats but as necessary steps toward achieving the fullness of life that God promises. The best, indeed, is yet to come. For those who love Him and have surrendered to His will, an eternal, glorious existence awaits, surpassing all that we can imagine.

Lest we forget, the Christian call to die to self and embrace life through Christ is not merely doctrinal — it is the pathway to true freedom and eternal joy! Christ’s victory over death is our assurance that life triumphs over death, love triumphs over despair, and ultimately, the will of God triumphs over all! Let us move forward in this faith, empowered by the Spirit, to fulfill our mission on earth as we await the fullness of life in the presence of our Savior.

Jerry McGlothlin serves as the CEO of Special Guests, a publicity agency known for representing guests who are dedicated to helping preserve and advance our Constitutional Republic, and maintaining a Judeo-Christian ethic.

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