“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falling into the earth should die, it abides alone; but if it should die, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).
While this passage speaks of the death of Jesus and the consequent harvest for the Kingdom of God, it also has some significance for each believer; the grain of wheat signifies the old man, the fleshly nature that must be crucified. For unless we die to self, we truly abide alone; the fruit of Christ’s blood sacrifice can only flourish in us as the old man dies. Heavenly fruit cannot be borne in mortal man, but only in spiritual man.
The crucifixion of Christ doesn’t work for me unless firstly, I know that I was crucified with Him and secondly, and most importantly, that I am living the resurrection life. The crucifixion doesn’t avail unless the resurrection life is there; the scriptures make that clear. And after all, if Christ was crucified, it doesn’t mean much at all unless He was also resurrected; and the same applies to us; we must live the resurrection life.
I have authority to live the resurrection life and that only, because when Christ was crucified I was in Him and when He was resurrected I was in Him too. That resurrection life in Christ is the only life I have, it is eternal life, and if I am not living that life then I am dead in my sins and just waiting for the death of my body for eternal damnation to claim me.
We cannot truly experience resurrection life in the old man; he must be put off to the extent that he is dead, even in this life. Eternal life does not follow biological death but the death of self in this life; God wants to break us to ourselves so that He can make use of us. There are many gifted people who could be of valuable service in the kingdom of God in this world, but they are not broken to self. God can only use an empty vessel.