One of the themes that run throughout the New Testament is our union by faith with Christ in his death and resurrection. It is this reality that is at the core of us having everything that we need for life and godliness (II Peter 1:3). Paul prays that the Ephesian believers would grasp the fullness of this truth:
I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:19-20 NLT).
Paul elaborates further in 2:6
For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms – all because we are one with Christ Jesus.
While I was preparing to deliver a sermon on this theme, I encountered Christ’s words John 10:18:
No one can take my life from me. I lay down my life voluntarily. For I have the right to lay it down and when I want to and also the power to take it again. For my Father has given me this command.
In our rising and dying with Christ, it is the same way. No one can lay down our life – “die to sin,” in Paul’s language from Romans 6 – we must choose to do it ourselves. But when we do choose to reject sin, the same authority that Christ had to “take it up again” – God’s power – will raise us up with Christ.
Growing in life and godliness doesn’t just happen. We must chose to lay down our life so that we may be raised up ‘in newness of life” (Romans 6;4) with Christ by his resurrection power.