“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
The Scriptures use the terms “life” and “death” with a wide range of application. We understand that original man, Adam, experienced physical death as a result of his sin and rebellion (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12). This was not the only death he experienced, however. If we take death to signify separation, then Adam was in some sense dead immediately after he broke God’s command; with the broken command came estrangement from God, the source of all life (John 5:26; Isaiah 59:2). This is estrangement is spiritual death. This terrible condition will come to maximal expression at the end of the world when lost, rebellious and unrepentant sinners are cast from God’s presence. This is called “the second death” (Revelation 20:14; 21:8). Death and life take on other meanings in the Scripture also. In the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), the rebellious and ungrateful son went into a far country and wasted his resources on worldly pleasures. For his foolish and sinful life choices, he was twice referred to as “dead” (Luke 15:24, 32). The Lord Himself used the term this way in reference to the carnal believers in Sardis (Revelation 3:1), and He moved Paul to use the term in similar fashion (1 Timothy 5:6). Ironically, there were among the ancients those, like the epicurean Menogenes Eustathes, who despised Christianity, claiming that its rejection of selfish pursuits made it “death in life.” From a “God’s eye” perspective, the Christian could indeed be described as experiencing death in life, but for a very different reason. Before we knew Christ in a saving way, we were in need not only of forgiveness for sin, but of the new birth. The old person we once were, who was in one sense dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1, 5), in another sense needed to be put to death! Paul referred to this as being “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20) that we might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:5). This is not always easy of course. It takes effort and courage to take up our cross daily as the Lord Jesus instructed (Luke 9:23). Let us follow the example of the great apostle, who committed himself to crucifying the old man with his lusts (1 Corinthians 15:31; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9). Though our old selves are dead and our mortal bodies are perishing, our new, regenerate selves have never been more alive (2 Corinthians 4:16). One day, death will be swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:26; 54) and body, soul, and spirit we will enjoy the abundant life Christ grants to those who love and trust Him. “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).