“United with him in a death like his …
united with him in a resurrection
like his.” (Romans 6:5)
The Gospels are filled with stories of people whose lives are transformed by their encounters with Jesus. The ailing and the afflicted, the wayward and the sinful, the wealthy and powerful, the poor and destitute, all experience profound renewal and deliverance. In a very real sense, they undergo a death to new life. They experience the death of what is old and false so that what is true and vital and lasting might be re-born in them. They go on to live resurrected lives, transformed by the power of God in Christ.
The apostle Paul says this is foundational to understanding the power of God in our own lives. Revealed in the life and ministry of Jesus, God is about the transformation of the world. The crucifixion and death of Jesus is emblematic of the death of everything that is false and cut off from God. As Paul says, “We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6:6) And, just as “we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
Irenaeus, one of the fathers of the early church said, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” It is in the journey through the death of the false self and the resurrection of our authentic, true selves that we are set free to be the people God created us to be. It is through this death that we become fully alive. And God’s invitation is to live from there, from that place of resurrection. It is to live resurrected lives, no longer burdened by guilt and shame of the past, nor fear and foreboding of what the future holds. It is to live as the people of God, raised to new life in him, and following God’s calling to transform the world.
Beginning with the celebration of Easter, we will be focusing on stories of transformation. We will explore the stories of people who were renewed, reborn, resurrected by encounters with the living Lord. And we will engage God’s calling on all who will believe to live resurrected lives for the sake of the world today.