A few weeks ago I was out doing some karaoke with some friends and sang “And When I Die” by BS&T. It’s a great song… but it got me to thinking. The poor guy in that song is really lost, and it’s such a shame because God has shown us so much about Himself and wants to grant us His beautiful grace and an eternal relationship with Him. So, I decided to teach on this more or less and as I’m going through it, I thought I’d reflect on some things in preparation for my teaching.
I’m not scared of dying,
And I don’t really care.
If it’s peace you find in dying,
Well then let the time be near.
Really, you don’t really care? Perhaps people have gotten to the point where they really don’t care about dying and they’ve been numbed to the significance of it. The irony in this is that, without Christ, you’re already dead, dog:
Ephesians 2:1-3 – And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Maybe it does make sense. After all, we are born into death in this universe. Ever since Adam and Eve decided they wanted to be their own gods, they experienced death… i.e., what we would call spiritual death but what is to God real death… alienation from Him. As a result we’re just slaves of our selfish desires carrying on according to the course of this world which is authored and led by Satan. What a sad state. I think BS&T sense this in the next verse of their song:
Now troubles are many, they’re as deep as a well.
I can swear there ain’t no heaven but I pray there ain’t no hell.
Swear there ain’t no heaven and I pray there ain’t no hell,
But I’ll never know by living, only my dying will tell.
There sure are troubles in this world. But we can’t figure anything out about eternity until we die? Is that true? How tragic would that be if it were true? But the fact is we can know, and it’s pretty straightforward too. God is a personal God who invented communication and has communicated clearly with us by coming here Himself and explaining it all in His Word:
Eph 2:4-9 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),  and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Look at that! God loved us so much that he came and did what we could not do for ourselves.
He reconciled us (restored unity by removing root cause of alienation, our sin by dying the death we deserve). I like the way Chuck Smith puts it in his “Why Grace Changes Everything” book:
First, all of your sins have been taken care of, washed, and forgiven because of your faith in Jesus Christ. Second, God looks at you as righteous because of your believing in Jesus Christ. Apart from what you are doing or not doing, apart from keeping any code of ethics, God is imputing righteousness to your account because you believe upon Jesus Christ.
It means that God has granted us a standing before Him just as if we had never sinned.
He raised us up from our spiritual death state to be with Him now and forever in eternity, including a seat of rulership in His eternal kingdom.
And probably the underlying current is that He restored a relationship with us, something that was lost in the garden and has now been reestablished. A real relationship where we experience the grace, peace, provision, and leadership of the God of the universe as was always intended. And all of this simply comes by trusting in Him.
That’s tripped out. It means we are a “new creation”. What a blessing to now come into this relationship which isn’t about “salvation insurance” as I used to think of it when I first got saved. But it’s a new life of love that means real impact in others life and most importantly being part of building God’s kingdom.
This is so clear and explicit in Scripture, how is it that we ever lose sight of this? I do though, and I’m so glad we have the Word to remind us when we turn to it. Otherwise I get caught up in basing my relationship with Christ on how I feel , or my circumstances, or the arbitrary sorts of self-righteous standards that I make up to make me think I’m doing good… never experiencing the flip side of grace: peace.
None of my efforts or self-derived perspectives is worth anything in a relationship with God. He’s done everything we need to relate to Him… why should we try and add anything else? Isn’t what He has done good enough?
What truly is cool is that we now can experience true freedom:
Eph 2:10 – For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (NLT)
A relationship with God where we now can choose to trust Him, grow in Him and love others. Before, all we could choose was either to be enslaved to our selfish selves and follow the course of this world or to choose to enter into a relationship with Christ. Now after doing that, freedom is wide open to us. It’s too bad that what BS&T seem to desire so badly at the end of their song:
Give me my freedom for as long as I be.
All I ask of living is to have no chains on me.
All I ask of living is to have no chains on me,
And all I ask of dying is to go naturally.
is not freedom at all. But what real freedom is, is open to all when we trust Jesus for it.