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“Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death–that is, the Devil–and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15).

            Certainly, the above verses refer to physical death.  But when we read, “Take up your cross daily,” or, “I die daily,” it is clear we should understand death in a broader sense (Luke 9:23; 1 Cor. 15:31).  Perhaps, in relating to our spouse, we want to be right rather than give up our rights.  Perhaps we would rather take a job that pleases us than one that pleases the Lord.  Perhaps we want to hold a grudge against church members for failing to be Christ-like rather than turning the other cheek and being Christ-like for them.  The sin and emotional baggage attending these and similar situations is slavery.  Our fear of death, our instinct to preserve ourselves, is the lock that keeps us chained, and for most of history, the devil has held the keys.  But now, the Risen One says to us, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One.  I was dead, but look–I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Rev. 1:17-18).  We fear death because we do not fully grasp that we have already died AND been raised from the dead in Christ.  “So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God ” (Col. 3:1-3).  This is not just metaphoric language.  If there is anything God is praying for us to take literally it is verses such as these.  As we apprehend (by the Spirit) that our real life is the life hidden with Christ in God, death will lose its sting; the devil will be stripped of his intimidating power over us (1 Cor. 15:55).

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