In 1968 a film was released that had an impact that went beyond what most would ever imagine. “The Night of the Living Dead” was a horror film in which dead people awakened into zombies and attacked those who were trapped in a Pennsylvania farm house. There have been a total of seven films made over the years with varying plots. The common theme is, of course, the ghouls or zombies – reanimated corpses. The whole concept has been marketed in many ways, and zombies regularly appear in games. It is certainly a very popular costume for Halloween. The whole concept of living dead people is sure to creep us out, and thus it gains popularity.
That is all fiction of course. You don’t need to walk fast past the cemetery at night or whistle loudly as you do. It is the stuff of scary stories but isn’t real. There is, however, a true basis for talking about a dead person who is alive. The apostle Paul was not calling himself a zombie, but he said: ” I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 ESV) Note that he says he has been crucified (killed), but is now alive.
There is a reality in what Paul says that we must be careful to grasp. This is not just some weird fiction or even a strange metaphor. There is a real sense in which we through faith can actually be associated with Christ’s death on the cross. He died for us, paying the price for our sin, but there is a reality that we died there as well if we receive Him as savior. In another place Paul said to the Christians at Colosse, ” For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3 ESV) In Romans 6:6 he also states, ” We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”
It is not just that we have died to sin, self, and the world (and are to reckon ourselves dead). we also are alive in a way we have never been before. We have a life within us that wasn’t there until we trusted in Christ. Christ Himself is in us and we are in Him. the holy Spirit now indwells us. That gives us an ability to live in a way that is as unbelievable as a zombie! In Him we have the ability to overcome sin that we never could on our own – we should be growing in that supernatural strength.
We also have the ability to change other lives through our testimony. As we live in the world, we who are living dead people are not a source of fear, but a source of hope. For all who would believe the good news that we share can go from spiritual death to life! A life that will be experienced in its fullest when we are physically resurrected with our resurrected Lord. How do I know that will really happen? A dead man(who was much more than a man) came out of a grave almost 2000 years ago. That is a fact greater than any fiction!