By Ryne Brewer
Recently, I’ve thought a lot about the process of life—the moment I was born, life as I grew up, and then eventually death. Death is a sobering thing to consider. But if I’m honest, I don’t think about death much. And now that I have more recently, it has made me think more about life. I’ve often heard people say: “Your death is the only guaranteed thing in life. You either get busy living, or you get busy dying.” But what if we had offered to us a guarantee of life rather than death? Better yet, how about life through death?
The language of Ephesians 2 speaks of death as the only way to life. I’m struck by how explicit Paul is when he says, “you were dead” (Ephesians 2:1). That’s as jarring a statement as any. It forces us as the reader to take a second glance, pause, and then consider the words on the page. To be dead is to be without any life, and Paul does not mince his words. So, if dead, I guess humanity is always busy dying? All the life we think we have apart from God is an illusion. And it seems that “the ruler of the power of the air” (v.2) has made dead people believe staying dead is better than being alive. Sin often looks like a life-giving tree, but there is only death at its roots.
What I love about the Bible is it does not shy away from the reality of death. It presses into it. And God does not deal with us according to our sin (Psalm 103:10). Because of His love for us (1John 4:9–10), through the death of Jesus, God captured death and turned it inside out. Jesus got busy living so that by the mercy of God (Ephesians 2:4), He would die and, in turn, guarantee us life. This is mind-blowing. God made actual living possible through death.
The beautiful reality for us who believe in Jesus is that we can see life through death. As we follow Christ through death, both figuratively and literally, we can experience life here and in the promised world to come. As believers, we get the opportunity to “get busy living” a new creation life (2Corinthians 5:17). It is a life of confidence, trusting fully that Jesus is the living way—that even in a reality where we still face death, we are guaranteed life.
In the pure heart that Jesus has made for us (Hebrews 10:22), let’s draw nearer to Him. He is life—good life, death defeating life. By the power of the Spirit, let’s get busy living!