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Life on the Other Side of Death
© 2019 Philip A Matthews
“…for we know that the Messiah, who was raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has mastery over him” (Romans 6:9)
The awesome power of radical submission to God lies in this fact: You can only kill a person once, and if, by some miraculous power, he comes back to life after you have “killed” him, there is absolutely nothing more you can do to him. This truth is found in Romans 6:9 (NLT): “We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and He will never die again. Death no longer has any power [or ‘dominion’ (KJV)] over Him.”
This is why Jesus Christ came back from the grave proclaiming, “All power in heaven and in earth is given unto Me” (Matthew 28:18). Satan had done the worst he could possibly do to Jesus, mercilessly torturing and ultimately killing Him. Despite it all, Jesus arose and came back to life! Now what can Satan do to Him? Can he threaten Him with death again? Can he strike fear into Him with pain, or danger, or loss? Jesus could say, “Been there, done that. You made Me sweat before, Satan, but it’s no sweat this time, fella! What else do you have in your arsenal?” And the fact is, Satan was completely out of ammunition!
By radically submitting Himself to God and completely dying to this world, Jesus was ushered into the most powerful position a human being can ever be in: Living life on the other side of death!
The truth is, a person who has truly died to himself and crucified his flesh can live beyond the corrupting reach of the fear of death. In other words, a “dead” man does not respond to the fear of death—the threat of loss, trouble, danger, social or economic pressure, or even physical death itself—because he is already “dead!” Satan has no power over him to pull or push him around with the fear of death. This is the most powerful position in the world to be in. And that is because the Resurrected Life is the most powerful life in the world. And nobody can experience a resurrection until they have first died!
Paul states this very well in Hebrews 2:14-15 (NIV): “Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
The Amplified Bible says “that by [going through] death” Jesus would “bring to naught and make of no effect him who had the power of death.” He went “through” death, as if it were a tunnel, and came out on the other side, forever untouchable and even unlimited by the laws of nature. We are to die to ourselves and be “buried with Him,” then raised by His resurrection to “walk in newness of life,” which is symbolized by baptism (Romans 6:1-6).
And this “newness of life” is the term used to describe radical Christianity and true discipleship: Living life on the other side of death. What’s so new about a life that is still being lived with the scars of the past, the anxiety of the present, and the fear of the future? Only after you die to this life through submission to God are you free to really live.
Obviously, Satan’s power over mankind is centered in his ability to scare us into compliance with his wishes by threatening us with death, loss, suffering, rejection, insecurity, danger, pain, purposelessness, fear of missing some wonderful, life-enhancing opportunity, and other common negatives which we so desperately want to avoid. We typically spend our lives struggling to avoid “death” in its various forms, making all kinds of sinful, selfish compromises to save and enhance our lives. We follow the sinful crowd because we are afraid to be different. We feel forced to lie because we fear that telling the truth might mess up something. We are driven by one of life’s most common fears: the “what if’s.” If I do what is right, “what if” this happens or “what if” that happens? Unfortunately, this all violates one of Jesus’ greatest principles: “Those who want to save their lives will lose them. But those who lose their lives for Me will save them” (Luke 9:24; 17:33; Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35).
But by dying to ourselves through absolute submission to God, Jesus Christ lifts us beyond that fear of death so that we can live powerful lives of holiness and obedience to God alone. A person who has lost it all has nothing more to lose!
Fear, the dominant human motivator, completely dissipates when you realize that “your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), that is, everything in your life has been yielded and submitted into God’s will. You have no life that you have deliberately left outside of the will, word, and way of God.
“What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms?” the old hymn, “What A Fellowship,” asks. You are hiding in the arms of God, protected from everything that can really hurt you. This is a place—the only place on earth—of true relaxation. Whatever God wants—whatever He wants to do with you, with your life, in your life, to your life—is just fine with you. Whether you live or die, whether you prosper or suffer, whether you experience abundance or deprivation, whether you gain or lose, whether you find fame and acceptance or toil forever as an unknown—ALL is still in the hands of God.
Thus, fear is cast out—“Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18)—and your peace and happiness are permanent and invulnerable.
A Little Part of His Plan
“I find no need to worry when things get out of hand.
Why should I lose my courage? It’s all still in His plan.
Just give me faith to trust You, to trust when I can’t trace,
For I know everything to be A little part of Your plan for me.”1
A missionary group was on its way to a wild, dangerous region from which few men had ever returned. One of their friends, fearing for their safety, tried to persuade them not to go with the words, “Don’t you know you might die there?” The missionaries replied, “We died before we ever left home.” A person who no longer has fear is the most powerful person on earth and also the most dangerous agent for Jesus Christ and His eternal Kingdom! Like a “gospel terrorist,” that person will do absolutely anything for God! [And, of course, we are talking only about righteousness here.]
In like manner, we might say that Jesus “died” in the Garden of Gethsemane, long before He was actually nailed to the cross. Once a person undergoes this “death,” Satan ceases to have any power over him or her. You can kill a person only once. This is the awesome, life-giving power of radical submission to God!
Happy Resurrection Sunday!
Now for this song, “Resurrection Power,” by the Matthews Family (Original Worship, 2012):
1 © 1980 Philip A Matthews, I’ll Keep Holding On To Jesus, Evening Light Gospel Harmonizers.