Once upon a time there was a man who was alive.

Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States
St. Cuthbert and Disciples in a Boat


Some Thoughts on Death and Entry into Life

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

II Corinthians 5:14-15

Christ's death has thundered through the very fabric of the cosmos, and utterly changes mankind. In it the old is violently torn down, all the old dies: the body of sin is crucified, corruption is dragged down, and the foundations of death tremble. His death and His great un-making and re-making of mankind- and by extension, the entire cosmos- is worked out and applied to us through union with Him in His Person. This union brings us into His life- and death- as a man for our sakes. His death becomes our death, and in it we are killed and buried, the old passing away. We are raised up in Him through His Resurrection, to newness and fullness of life in Him. We are ascended into heaven, and partake of the very Life of God in Him. The actions, if you will, of Christ in His Incarnation form and bring about our life. Everything He does in the flesh is for our sake.

In the passage above, St. Paul brings out a particular aspect of Christ's death for us. In it we die. It is a cessation of our former life, our life 'in the world', our life in sin and corruption, and, especially, away from God. In this old life we live for ourselves. We are like the men Chesterton describes in Orthodoxy, living in a very tiny cosmos composed entirely of self. We stare in upon our inner walls, ignoring- hating- the world outside. We live for ourselves, and it is not life at all. Ours is an orbit turned inwards, ever spiraling down, down, in blackness and despair, and ending in death. Nature declares as much: our bodily existence depends upon things other than ourselves. If we refuse food we will naturally die. So it is with God. So long as we attempt to live for ourselves we are bound for death, rejecting God, rejecting all hope of life. And it is into this self-inscribed existence that we are born, for we are bound within this corruption. This is where the death of Christ delivers us: in His death, as we participate in it, we find this old order destroyed. We are dead; what is more, we are alive again, because of Christ. We are utterly dependent upon God again, and find our life in Him. Now we are free to live, not unto ourselves in the dark, cold inner cosmos, but in the light and glory of God. He gives entry into this new (eternally young!), real world, in which we find our life, our being, wholly in God. And thus we also live in organic unity with each other, for His love brings us into harmony, having torn down the old barriers and raised us up into His Body. He is the Firstborn of new humanity, having cast off the old, and we are made members of Him, flesh of His flesh, bone of His bone.

In His death Christ renews humanity by killing the corruption, the 'body of sin', that we had brought upon ourselves. He works death in us so that the evil might die, and we ourselves be saved by being clothed with the newness found in Him. 'The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.'


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