Recently I was involved in a discussion about 2 Corinthians 5:14-15:

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

The questioning centred on the phrase ‘therefore all died’. Interestingly, I had already been pondering the life that believers are called and empowered to live, and this discussion helped me to focus my rambling thoughts to the following.

There is a deep meaning to this passage that takes some time to realise – a whole lifetime, even! Paul expressed it in several places. I’ll highlight a few to help get to the core of the topic.

Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:11

Praise God! While we have been included in Christ’s ascended life, made alive in a whole new way, we must continue to plumb the depths of how we have died. They must be considered together. As Jesus said, ‘unless the seed falls to the ground and dies…’ (John 12:24)

Sin had hold over us, we all lived in a state of deception. Even if we knew that, we could not do anything to be free from the consequences or the penalty of death – ever! No matter how many lives we had or how hard we tried.

Paul must have spent years praying, thinking, and carefully writing to help us understand that sin’s hold – firm as it was – is no longer. We are freed from being a prisoner to sin and death through Jesus, and now we live anew in the manner that Galatians 2:20 powerfully proclaims:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.

Galatians 2:20

Any time we fall into old ways of sin, it is because we have lost sight of who we are in Christ. We have offered ourselves again to the law of sin and death – not that it has hold over us any longer, but we have chosen, through carelessness or rebelliousness, to live out of the old man, not the new man in Christ.

I’ve often thought of Ancient Israel and how they experienced some amazing and profound miracles as they were freed from Egypt and set on the path to the Promised Land. We can hardly imagine the moments of sheer joy and excitement as the journey began. The Red Sea parting would be perhaps the most significant – an experience to last 100 lifetimes through the stories that were passed on.

Yet it’s not long before they lose their focus on where they are going and where they have been. They were slaves for 4 centuries, but Israel (disappointed by circumstances and perhaps their own short-sightedness) wanted to go back to the ‘leeks and garlic of Egypt’ rather than forge ahead to the new land – a land God had chosen for them (Num. 11).

As we look ahead to the joy of our new lives in Christ – the new life now accompanied by God’s spirit and the new life when we are raised to be like Christ – we come to understand more deeply, as Paul did, that the new is juxtaposed with the old. 

Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:11

We must indeed consider how much we have died in Christ in order to now live in Christ.

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Jesus’s death, a most significant event in all creation, is surpassed only by his ascension to a new life…the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15)! Such is the magnitude of Jesus’ death, that all mankind may be included in it! We are all included in the death of the son of God.

We don’t have to die anymore under our own strength, we don’t have to strive under the Law anymore, we don’t have to worry or pay any outstanding dues. We don’t even need to worry about sin or whether we are good enough, or whether we are trying hard enough. We’re already dead to that stuff…every miserable skerrick of it!

We each had an unpayable debt and it is PAID in FULL!

Now, if we can apprehend what Christ’s death has accomplished for us, we can grow in living the magnificence of what his life has accomplished for us. Yes, it’s still not easy, we’re still not even close to perfect – in fact, we might feel like we’re getting further away from the goal (perhaps the goals are self-imposed, but that’s another discussion)!

We might picture it this way:

We were chained to this world and the law of sin and death.

Jesus has broken the chain! 

Jesus has totally freed us – ending our slavery to the world and its ruler!

But some of the links remain attached to our ankles. We can run as far as we like from Egypt, but the baggage (links) of who we were – slaves to sin – are an ever-present daily reminder that it is not we who live, but Christ who lives in us. The life is not our own to live… it is lived in and through him.

Let us not think of re-joining the chain, nor dwell on what was or what self-centred ‘leeks and garlic’ we might miss. We must know that the power or strength of the links is dead too. They weren’t part of a physical chain – it was a spiritual chain that a man could never sever.

Such is the death of our wonderful Saviour, who broke the chain only the son of God, the last Adam, could break.

As we joyously ponder the new life, let us prayerfully consider that it is only lived to the extent that we grasp how dead the old one is! We eagerly look forward to our change – to finally be like He is, forever – when the last links have finally fallen away.

Was this article a blessing to you? Comment below to let us know what you liked about it and what topics you'd be interested to see going forward! Also, please consider donating – even $1 helps! – to support the creation of more content like this in the future!

3 comments

  1. Amen. We are Jesus hands and feet on earth now. Praise his Holy name. Scott

  2. Amazing and exciting article, thank you.

  3. What a blessing to be reminded of what we have in Christ! Could this have been the “death” Jesus was referring to in John 21:19?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.