The way to life is through the door of death. A seed must be planted in the soil of death in order to bring forth new life. Unless one is born again (after dying) one will never enter the Kingdom of God.
What is this death?
The first mention of it in the Bible is the following:
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” [Genesis 6:5-7]
The King James Version puts it this way:
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. [Genesis 6:6-7]
The door of death is repentance.
Personal repentance is therefore the part each individual plays regarding the one person he or she has full control over. When a person is convicted of personal sin through the light of the Gospel message, it is his or her opportunity to do just as God did in the above passage.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” [John 12:24]
Prior to one’s born again experience, a person is spiritually worthless. He or she is a sinful entity deserving of death, or absolute death, as the wicked people of Noah’s time were deserving of extermination.
Imagine how gut-wrenching it must have been for God to wish He had never created human beings! He was sorry for it! He regretted it! If He had to do it all over again, He never would have created Adam and Eve. That is exactly what this passage reveals. It also reveals the absolute depravity of unrepentant humanity.
People are inherently sinful and wicked, and God hates this sin and wickedness. He was not only sorry for creating human beings, He owned up to it and did something about it. Except for one man whom God considered righteous and the seven members of his family, God destroyed the entirety of humanity.
And all those throughout history who have never properly repented will also be destroyed eventually.
But by His grace He has granted each of us one chance to escape proper, otherwise inescapable judgment. The default position is hell. Every human being who has ever lived will go straight to hell. You will not pass Go. You will not collect $200.
Unless you repent.
Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” [Luke 13:1-5]
It is therefore incumbent upon each of us to repent, to die to ourselves, to crucify our flesh, and to “lose” our life:
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?” [Luke 9:23-25]
This is a very misunderstood passage of Scripture. Many nominal Christians are either not aware of it or never apply it properly. It is another one of those “all or nothing” teachings of the Lord that demands real discipleship and true repentance.
The words “lose” and “loses” in the passage are from the Greek word apollumi, which means “to destroy.” It is the same Greek word found in the following verse, though translated directly:
“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy (apollumi) both soul and body in hell.” [Matthew 10:28]
This total soul and body destruction is what transpires when a human being suffers the final judgment in the lake of fire. It is the exact same destruction that must take place at repentance.
Now, this is obviously a very strong teaching that most Christians refuse to accept. The easy-believe crowd rejects it. Fake preachers never preach it. Soft denominational Christianity has discarded it long ago.
This is why most of those who call themselves “Christian” have never had a true born again experience:
“You MUST be born again.” [John 3:7]
There is no new birth if there is no real repentance, no destruction of one’s former life, no wholesale turning away from the life of sin and self, or no total subjection to the Lord Jesus.
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose (destroy) it, and he who has lost (destroyed) his life for My sake will find it.” [Matthew 10:37-39]
One will never discover one’s real life without destroying one’s sinful life.
The way of life is through the door of death.
© 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1]
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.