"I have good news! Guess who died?"
That's not a phrase you hear often. And, when you do hear it, it is typically followed by the name of some utterly-evil, dastardly person. You hear the name and a smile comes to your face. Or, if you don't recognize the name, the smile comes once you are reminded of the horrific deeds perpetrated by this evildoer.
Names and events are popping into your mind now, for sure. Hitler. Bin Laden. Mao. Pol Pot. Few people, if any, were bothered when these people took the room temperature challenge and shuffled off this mortal coil.
Well, I have good news! Guess who died?
I DID !!!
I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST.
IT IS NO LONGER I WHO LIVE, BUT CHRIST WHO LIVES IN ME.
First of all, let me assure you that this truly is terrific and wonderful news. Because the "old me" definitely needed to die. Or, as someone once said, "That #*@#%#$ needed a bullet."
The bible doesn't use the term "the old me" but rather the "old self" (or, in some translations, the "old man.") But whatever the term, the guy needed to die! Thoroughly evil, driven by sinful desires, and utterly self-centered. I was wholly out of control. In Matthew 23:27, Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and tells them, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness."
That was me. Looked OK on the outside, dead and filthy inside.
Then, thankfully, I died. (That's another phrase you seldom hear!!!)
I accepted the best offer I'd ever received. I was invited to exchange evil for good, judgement for unending grace, eternal death for everlasting life. Jesus said He'd take my pain and replace it with His joy. He'd remove my sinful, hard heart and replace it with a heart of true love and compassion - HIS! He offered the ultimate pardon, one better than any president or king could ever give.
When I died, He gave me HIS LIFE. So it is no longer I who live, but it is actually CHRIST who lives in me. As incredible as it sounds, the life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
It was only in my death that I found true life.
Here's one more phrase you don't often hear.
I HOPE YOU DIE!
In fact, I hope you die soon! I think that it would be great if you died today. And I'd like to help in any way I can.
Then you and I will both be able to tell people, "I have good news! Guess who died?"
Isn't it WONDERFUL !!!!