Knowledge that Counts #4. “Being conformed to His death” (Phil.3:10).

Knowledge that Counts #4. “Being conformed to His death” (Phil.3:10).

The last words of William Tyndale were, “Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes.”

The impact of Tyndale’s words is only felt when we realise that he spoke them while tied to a stake, and about to be strangled, and then burned. His crime? Translating the Bible into English. His death (6 October 1536) was testimony to his undying belief that translating the Living Word of God into the language of his fellow Englishmen was worth dying for.

When contemplating my own moment of death, I wonder if it might more closely reflect the words in the second half of the old children’s prayer: “…If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” I doubt that I would be alone in this.

The apostle Paul wanted to emulate every aspect of his Saviour’s life, including his death. If dying for the gospel of Christ meant death by crucifixion, he was ready.

Although Paul longed for the day that he would see Jesus face-to-face in physical death, he considered himself already dead to this world. The pre-Christian “old man,” known as Saul of Tarsus, was no more. He was crucified with Christ in baptism (Rom.6:3-6).

Only a man who sees this world for the death trap that it is, is willing to die to it and die for it. So, in that watery grave of baptism Paul was “born again” (Jn.3:5), and then, “raised to walk in newness of life” (Rom.6:4).

He told the Galatian church:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal.2:20).

John Staiger

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