ARE YOU DEAD?
T. PIERCE BROWN
The Bible speaks of those who are dead in sin, and those who are dead to sin. Sadly, there are some connected with the church that seem to be about halfway between. That is, they gave the impression that they died to sin when they were baptized. However, as we look at their lives, the questions raised in Romans 6:1-2 are pertinent. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. We who are dead to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?”
Paul said in Romans 6:6-7, “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; for he that hath died is justified from sin.” Is it possible that instead of crucifying the old man, we just stunned him? Our baptism is supposed to be a symbol of burying the old man of sin into the death of Christ and then rising to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4). However, it is possible to have a form of Godliness and deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5).
We probably have the answer to the fruitlessness in the lives of many who profess membership in the church as we examine carefully such passages as 1 Cor. 15:36, “Thou foolish one, that which thou thyself sowest is not quickened except it die.” Although Paul is here talking about the resurrection of the body at the second coming of Christ, he states a general principle that is true in farming and in spiritual matters. Jesus said in John12:24, “Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit.” He was talking about his own death, but expressed a general principle that is true in our lives.
Do you notice that he says, “If it die, it beareth much fruit?” If we examine our own lives and find that we are not bearing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians5:22-23) could it be that we have not died to self, Satan and sin? Look carefully at the passage. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.” When you get through with your day’s activities, whether it be preaching, housekeeping or just visiting, is there more love evident in your life and that of your companions, or does your talk and actions create bitterness and strife? Does your language and actions increase longsuffering and kindness in those about you, or more division and strife? Are you thought of as a meek and gentle person, or is your language biting, sarcastic, slashing and hurtful? It is possible that we have sought to be known as the disciples of Christ because we taught what we called “sound doctrine” when Jesus says, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another” (John13:35).
A father who loves his child will admonish, rebuke and chastise him, but that does not mean he will slash him with a bullwhip or bash his head with a baseball bat. The lesson has far broader implications than that. Are you striving to win souls for Christ? Is there any area where you are not bearing fruit? Could part of the reason be that you have not really died to self, Satan and sin? If you get your feelings hurt because you are not properly recognized and applauded, do you realize that dead men do not feel that kind of pain?