“Dead man walking!” That was supposed to be he chant raised a in prison whenever a convicted criminal made his way to the execution chamber (or at least this is how Hollywood portrayed it in one movie). The statement gives expression to a sense of hopelessness or despair.
If we read our assigned portion of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, an argument could be made the perhaps Paul shared in that attitude, but for a far different reason. For St. Paul Christians are “dead men walking,” but unlike the movie Paul’s thoughts are not dredged in despair or dread. Instead, Paul gives voice to confidence, joy, and hope!
Consider verses 5-11 of our text:
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 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. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Here is a confidence we would do well to share! If Paul had uttered the phrase, “Dead man walking,” it wouldn’t have been in hopeless despair. As a believer in Jesus Christ it would have been a statement of complete confidence and utter joy! Death had no more dominion over Jesus; and in Christ Jesus it can have no more power over you or me. Our heavenly home with Jesus is assured!
So, we pray: “Lord Jesus, give us the confidence to always know that regardless of what may happen to us in this life and world You are with us to give us strength. Take us to our heavenly home. In Your name we pray. Amen.”