Survival has been the aim of humanity, ever since creation. Strangely it is by choice that humans pursue routes toward demise, rather than towards survival. Jesus said a person loses life when aiming at saving the same life and yet gains life when losing physical life for Jesus’ sake.
As physical as Jesus was, He stated that He was the resurrection and the life to anyone believing in Him (John 11:25). Just by believing in Jesus, one attains the power that Jesus demonstrated; including the resurrection. Human life is sustained by two dichotomies—the spirit and the physical.
The spiritual component motivates the business of livingness, while the physical component attracts activities leading to death. For instance, the physical body dislikes hard work, yet it is through hard work that a person obtains livingness. The spiritual urge to work hard enhances survival.
“For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:17-18 NIV).
But why are physical desires described as sinful nature? The sinful nature was adopted by Adam, after taking the wrong fruit. Nothing appears wrong with the physical body, generating the appetite for sex and being envious, for instance. The sinful nature focuses on the self, as impossible to think of anything else ahead of the self. This is how sinful nature was crafted in humanity.
The condition of sinful nature has now been defeated, through Jesus. The most important reality is to acknowledge one’s helplessness, to attain Jesus’ help out of a sinful condition. There are two Biblical examples, showing how to access the redemptive abilities of Jesus.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him; “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God?” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43 NIV).
Observed in the above passage is the soul of one of the criminals admitted into paradise. But why didn’t the other Criminal also access paradise? The two were compatriots in criminal activities. Yet the other criminal could not access the paradise, which his friend managed to easily access. The aim of every Christian is to be in Paradise, accessed by a sinful criminal.
The mocking criminal desired survival, but he could not access the paradise as was accessed by his friend. Pride could not allow him to change his mind. His mockery came from a sense of self-dependence. He could not submit to a person he mocked. In other words, he saw Jesus as unwise. Paradise is not easily accessible to proud people.