Some have tried to avoid the concept of “Christ’s life for me and my life for Christ” depicted in the gospel exchange (cf. 2Cor.5:15; Mt.13:44-46; Lk.14:28-33; Mt.10:37-39; et al.) by imagining a dichotomy in the Christian life. They suggest that there are two alternatives when signing up for eternal life. They claim that you can choose to be “an average Christian” (i.e., someone with a “simple trust” in Christ which delivers them from the penalty of hell) or you can choose to be “a sold-out disciple” (i.e., someone who is committed to following Christ on a day-to-day basis). This supposed dichotomy does not exist in the pages of the New Testament. It is a creation of modern churchgoers to explain away the “all in” call of the gospel. Some say it is necessary to avoid the addition of “works” to the gospel equation. But clearly the Bible is not contradicting itself when it tells us that eternal life is a “gift of God” (Rom.6:23) and that the impact of the gospel will necessarily result in us becoming “slaves of God” who pursue “holiness” (Rom.6:22). The biblical gospel freely offers Christ’s life for us and demands my life for his.
It’s popular for people to say that “death is simply a part of life.” But the truth is, nothing could be more antithetical to life than death. From a biblical perspective, the only thing “natural” about death is that all of nature has been unwillingly made subject to it. The Bible reveals that God’s creation was not initially designed to undergo physical death. Death was the disciplinary response to the rebellion of our archetypal parents. Adam and Eve’s sin—and ours—remind us why death is the sentence we each must bear.
But there is good news. Christ has come to conquer death! At His first coming, He won the war. At His second coming, He will depose our enemy forever. In this wonderful book for children of all ages, this special 25th anniversary edition of The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt tells the story of Christ’s life, death and resurrection from a unique and poignant perspective. I invite you to request a copy when you give a donation of any amount.
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