Hebrews 2:14-16 identifies freedom from the fear of death to be one of the key victories won by Jesus on behalf of mankind …that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. According to Scripture, overcoming the fear of death is essential to freeing ourselves from a lifetime of bondage to the devil.
The fear of death holds an unspoken dread for every human being; in fact, death may possibly be the most dreaded fear imaginable to a species that was created to live forever. Yet, the opening of sin gave entrance to death, and because all men sinned death was passed to all; (Rom. 5:12) therefore, all men must resolve their fear of death or live a life of bondage.
You may ask, “What exactly is the bondage we will experience?” The bondage every person who does not resolve their fear of death will face is the root of all bondage: bondage to self! In a day when there is little emphasis on dying to self but great emphasis on living free, we have created a gospel that is based more on mysticism and fairytales than on the Bible. The offer of freedom without death to self is a delusional deception designed to pacify those who want to be Christians but not disciples, or church members but not members of His body.
We cannot live a new life while clinging to the old one. We cannot participate in resurrection power unless we have known the fellowship of His suffering and conform to His death! (Phil. 3:10) Before we can put on the new man we must put off the old man. Before we can have a new identity we must surrender our former identity!
Everything in man’s original “wiring” was designed to avoid pain and pursue pleasure. Of course, in the beginning man was in an intimate relationship with God wherein he discovered all the joys and pleasures of life. Because he lived in perfect trust and obedience to God he enjoyed a level of abundance wherein was no lack whatsoever! Man’s absolute trust for God and His wisdom produced a perfect obedience that led to a perfect life!
In the temptation man was told the forbidden fruit would give him the ability to know good and evil, i.e., to ascertain by seeing and perceiving. Then when they ate their eyes were opened to do just that. It is interesting to note that nothing evil came into the world at that moment. There was not a torrential deluge of demonic power released and things that were once good did not suddenly become evil. But just as expected, their perception of the world changed. Rather than trusting God’s wisdom to know good and evil they now had the ability of perception, and in a final attempt to be their own gods they judged what they saw independent of God’s truth!
Every evil in the world is the result of a human making it so by his judgment, intent, distrust of God, or unbelief! All things God created were pure and good; nothing was or is evil within itself. In the Book of Titus Paul made the insightful statement that bears this very truth: To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure. (Titus 1:15) This one statement clarifies the profound reality that nothing in creation is evil within itself. We make it evil by our intent; then we discover that through a distorted perception and personal judgment we create our chaos and subsequent pain!
As previously mentioned we were created to pursue pleasure and avoid pain, but that process is corrupted by our own perception. When we fail to take God at His Word all we have left to distinguish pain or pleasure is our corrupted perception and personal judgment. This brings us to our fear of death and its ability to hold us in bondage! Not everything we judge to bring pain will do so, and not everything we determine will bring us pleasure will actually end that way!
Our “old man” is an idea of who we think we are. Every life experience is recorded in the cells of our body. Through cellular memory we have a subconscious memory that has created a sense of who we are… our identity! The heart is the part of our anatomy that stores our long-term memory and thereby gives us a sense of self based on everything we have ever experienced!
Based on all of our experiences we view life and make judgments about what we can and cannot do. We create the limits of our life, thus fulfilling Proverbs 4:23, Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues (boundaries) of life. The thing that makes us function as a slave bound to lack, sickness, or any other destructive factor is that we are still living within the boundaries and limitations of the delusion of who we were apart from Jesus.
Our instinct to preserve our life doesn’t just extend into our natural life; it carries over into our sense of identity, i.e., the life we think to be ours because we have not yet accepted our death with Jesus. Because we refuse to die to self, we stay bound to the limitations of our natural self!
Through the carnal/natural mind we have created a way of viewing ourselves and the world around us. Through this skewed perception we think we are alive and we are attempting to hold on to life. We do not see that the life we work so hard to protect is one of limitations. Through our natural mind we fear death to self. We only see the pain because we do not see the eternal, limitless pleasure of the resurrection life!
Our great struggle of faith is not because we lack the faith to believe for individual promises; it is because we still perceive ourselves to be the person we were outside of Jesus! We don’t lack the faith for anything.
Accept following Him in death so you can live now and forever in the quality of life possessed by God! The moment you surrender all that you are outside of Jesus and consider yourself dead to sin, you experience the power of righteousness, the power of the resurrection, the power of life… the power of a new identity! And as an added bonus, when we die to self and connect to our identity in Christ it prepares us to crossover into eternity with no fear of natural death!
This article is based on the new series Identity, Self-Image, and Self-Worth. This incredible series will help you discover the secrets to establishing your heart in your new identity in Jesus. For more information click here.

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