Put to death in the flesh: Made alive by the Spirit

1 Peter 3--18 The Verse of the Day for November 14, 2014 is found in 1 Peter 3:18 (KJV):

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

The New Living Translation provides this rendering:

1 Peter 3:18 (NLT):

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

The verse contrasts being “put to death in the flesh” with being “quickened or made alive by the Spirit.”

Translated from the Greek word zōopoieō, the expression meansto cause to live, make alive, give life, restore to life, endued with new and greater powers of life, of seeds quickened into life, i.e. germinating, springing up, growing)”

The phrase “quickened by the Spirit” also brought to mind this stanza from the poem “Constant Reminders.”

God makes known to us a new covenant,

Quickened within us by a lively hope,

Energized by ever-increasing faith,

That we might know and be known by His love,

Surpassing even the knowledge of God:

How great and how precious is each promise.

I recall seeing a graphic illustration of having been put to death with respect to the flesh in stark contrast to having been quickened or made alive with regard to the Spirit:

Although this is not the particular sculpture that I saw, it shows the transformation taking place as an antelope is changed into a butterfly.

Although this is not the particular sculpture that I saw, it shows the transformation taking place as a dying  antelope is changed into a butterfly.

About 10 years ago while living in Columbus, OH, there was special exhibition called Chapungu, a collection of sculpture from Harare, Zimbabwe on display at the Franklin Park Conservatory. One of the sculptured works of art that particularly arrested my attention was entitled “Dying Antelope Transformed into a Butterfly.” It was the inspiration for this poetic response to what I witnessed:

A Lesson from Chapungu

Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;                                                                        

The snare is broken, and we have escaped.

Psalm 124:7

 

With my eyes open to see what God has to say,

I stroll through varied green scenes while looking to see

Secret messages, sculpted letters sent to me

In rocks that cry out from quarries of Zimbabwe.

Hunted game escapes, just beyond the fowler’s grasp,

An antelope transformed into a butterfly,

Snatched from the clasp of death, quickened to glorify

The God that spoils the powers of the deadly asp,

To release souls who trust Him from the fear of death.

You uphold me with your victorious right hand.

Not even death can limit all that you have planned,

For you sustain all life and safeguard every breath.

The Lord protects my life, preserving flesh and bone,

That I might proclaim His praise as a living stone.

 

Israel Houghton and New Breed offer this passionate prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit,” a worship medley that overflows into praise:

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