10. Thanatos

Death in the Lord designates the process of true journey of Christian life. So before we die physically and be buried then we must first enter the death process of our old self. The death process of our old self means we abandon all habits of life along with all our thinking pattern and philosophy before making a decision to follow the Lord Jesus. The death process of our old self begins first or precedes the new birth God has given or it can run simultaneously or in parallel. In this case, there is no new birth without death of our old self. In Lord Jesus, we become new creations or new beings. The Scripture says that we have been born of God.1 However this is not something that can happen automatically. This re-born state appears after a struggle when we are willing to leave our old way of life. We should not regard this as a simple matter that can happen in believers’ life without any struggle. Instead, we should consider this as something that must be fought with the utmost seriousness. Through this uphill battle in responding to the grace of God, then we are born of God with new nature.

A calling to die before death or to live in Christ’s death is actually a calling to every believer.2 Similar to Him in His death basically is a life devoted to the entire interests of the Kingdom of God. The word ‘to die’ in the original text is thanatos (θάνατος) which is the same word that is used in Colossians 3: 3; for we have died. Thanatos indicates the separation of body from the spirit. Why does the Scripture choose this word thanatos? Because the word shows that once a person becomes God’s child, the purpose of our life is differentiated from the children of the world. Therefore, we have to separate ourselves from the world. Separate from the world means that we no longer have ways of life like that of world’s children. If the purpose of our life previously was the same as that of world’s children, now it should be distinct. Actually, this separation does not happen in one day, but through a long process, so the renewing of our mind must occur every day so that we do not conform to this world.3 Only the Word of God is capable of segregating it.4

In Colossians 3:3 the Bible says: For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Many people do not understand this statement. There are more Christians who are not willing to lose their life. Yet the Bible clearly says: You have died. This unwillingness is very detrimental to our own self. Though profound and weird, but this is the factual success of Christian life to having the true Divine life. Because this is important, Lord Jesus said: If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.5 Verse 25 mentioned about the loss of life. The word ‘life’ in this verse is psuke that is more accurately translated as ‘soul’. In ‘soul’ there is mind, feeling and will. One who loses his life is one who is willing to lose the pleasures of life as owned by world’s children. This is the loss of life or death with Christ and lives in a new life.

Those who are willing to lose their lives are the ones who are willing to lose their happiness, and are those who are willing to be new borns.  One will never experience new birth if he is not willing to lose all pleasures of life and human dignity.  Just like Nicodemus would never experience new birth if he did not take off his comfort as a Jewish religion leader. The rich man who was written in Matthew 19:16-22 also never experienced new birth because he was not willing to lift-off his attachment to this worldly romance. In this regard, it should be stated that the condition of new birth is not a miracle and supernatural process. Nevertheless, the new birth is a natural process by the Holy Spirit in the life of those who are willing to lose this world. By this natural process one is transformed to put up a new nature, which is Godly nature.

1)John 1:13;   2) Philippians 3:103) Rome 12:2;   4) Hebrew 4:12; 5 ;   5)Matthew 16:24-25

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