If I were to say to you that there is a way to die that would actually lead to a life beyond your wildest imagination, what would you say to me? No one wants to think about death, but death is unavoidable in this life. It is a true statement that no one gets out of this life alive. However, there is a way of dying that leads to newness of life.
First, consider what is right with the world. Surely, life would be difficult on planet earth if you were the only person living. Nevertheless, when people work together to survive, they can not only survive but also thrive. Together we went to the moon, invented machines to do our work, discovered cures in modern medicine that prolong life. The world is filled with wonders because people work together for the good of mankind.
Second, consider what is wrong with the world. James in his portion of scripture proposed God’s answer to this question. “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.” (James 4: 1, 2) The thing that is most wrong with the world tonight is the inability of us all to get along with one another.
To this problem, God offers the answer – death. The death of which He speaks is not first our own but that of His Son. My dear reader, most people have heard about the grace of God. To many grace is a free gift to be abused. Take what God gives and then run. Run back to your old life and live out the same problems you would have if you never heard about the grace of God. Such running is not what God means by grace. Read carefully the Apostle Paul’s following argument about how to live under God’s grace.
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:1-7)
The baptism spoken of in this passage is not the cleansing of the body with water, but the cleansing of a person’s conscience. Peter put it this way, “…baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 3:21) A clear conscience becomes evidence of salvation in the heart of one who believes. That is, believes in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
How do we live well, dear reader? The very last part of James 4:2 gives the reason, “You do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2) What we need more than anything is a new life. The newness of life leads to getting along with others, caring, kindness, love, patience. Truly new life always begins by connecting with God, this we do through His Son. He calls Him savior on our behalf, and we call Him Lord and Master.
Have you ever asked for a new life in Christ – did it lead to you seeing clearly the need that you have for Jesus Christ? Did your new life lead to your death to sin in your heart? Did it place a passion within you to live better than you do? Do you long for God and His coming kingdom?
A sincere desire for God is evidence of salvation.