Have you ever wondered what it would be like to dig your own grave? For real though. We use the phrase ‘Your going to dig your own grave if you_____’ metaphorically all the time. I suspect there have been some throughout history who have literally had to dig their own grave six feet in the ground at gun point. How often do we consider the fact that in a way this is what Christ is asking us to do at the moment we trust him as savior and each day we live as a redeemed child of God?

In their new book, Die Young: Burying Yourself in Christ, seasoned authors Hayley and Michael DiMarco are calling all Christians to die young and bury themselves in Christ. This is a book about living as dead to sin and alive to Christ. Black may be the new pink and 40 maybe the new 30 but for the Christian death is the new life. “People bury themselves in things they hope will save them, but the only one who can truly be saved is the one who is buried in Christ (p. 18).”

Die Young is all about self-denial. Not in a monastic asceticism sort of way by removing yourself from society and the comforts of life. “Die Young is about that kind of death, the dying-to-self kind of death, the ‘living sacrifice’ that Paul wrote to the Romans about in Romans 12. This ability to deny yourself so that you don’t serve your desires over his (p. 13).”

Through a series of seven chapters that present implications of the gospel in the life of the believer, the DiMarco’s present aspects of the Christian life in the form of statements that reverse how we might naturally think about things. This seven fold picture begins with the reality that for life in Christ to begin we must first die to ourselves. Death is the new life. Christ died to sin (our sin) and rose again to new life. When we respond to his gospel invitation in faith we make a decision to die to ourselves and are buried with Christ in His death to our sin and we are given the new life that He accomplished in His resurrection. Christ’s death and life become our death and life.

Chapters two through six cover five more areas in which the gospel reverses how we might naturally think about things in this life. Down is the new Up deals with concept of living humbly before God and others. “It’s from a lowly position of self-awareness and sin that we are saved because God reaches down and touches us in our need (p. 45).” Less is the new More deals with our desire for stuff and our hearts desire to make idols out of it – even the good stuff God blesses us with. Everything we have comes from God but we can ask from it what it cannot give us (and only God can) when we turn it into an idol. Our hearts desire should be to give from what we have been given instead of hoarding and wasting it. By giving more we are dying to our desire to keep what we have. “It is the deep desire within us to get more that giving is mean to kill (p. 91).” Weak is the new Strong is a recognition that we cannot do life on our own and that we cannot even die to sin on our own. Once we recognize that we are weak then God can show us his strength. In Slavery is the new Freedom we see that being a slave to Christ is what brings us true freedom in this life and allows us to enjoy it in the life to come. When we become free in Christ we become free from the death (separation from God) that slavery to sin brings. Slavery to Christ brings with it freedom from the condemnation of God when we were in our sins (Rom. 8:1). “This is the freedom that slavery (to Christ) brings, freedom from the condemnation that ought to come from sin but doesn’t because of the blood of Christ (p. 123).” When we are slaves to sin we receive the result death brings (separation from God) which is a lack of freedom from God’s judgment on our lives. Finally, in Confession is the new Innocence we are comforted in the reality that when we sin we have an advocate with the Father in Christ so that when we confess our sins God is faithful and just and will forgive because we have been united with Christ’s death and burial to sin and share in the new life His resurrection brings. We need to confess our sin at the time we respond to the gospel and daily as we walk with Christ. Confession is the cure to the guilt that sin brings with it.

Whether or not the DiMarco’s intended to do so, the final chapter, Red is the new White, offers both a conclusion to the book of counterintuitive statements about the Christian life but also a complementary statement to the first – death is the new life. Throughout Scripture there is a consistent witness to the reality that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (ESV – Heb. 9:22).” Red is the new White demonstrates for us that when we are covered in the blood of Christ we are made white as snow (Isa. 1:18). With Christ’s death there is shed blood. In Christ we are covered in it and we have new life in Him. Thus, “the blood is our bleach (p. 170).” Death is the new life and red is the new white are complimentary statements that serve as fitting book ends to this encouraging book.

There are two things that were really helpful in this book. First, it is evident page after page that this is a book deeply grounded in Scripture. Almost every page not only cites Scripture but quotes verse after verse. The words of the authors and Scripture are woven almost seamlessly together. Second, each chapter has a number of short stories from the lives of Hayley and Michael about how they have struggled with and applied the truths of each chapter. These are not superficial stories but are very transparent and readers will find it very refreshing to read. At times they seem to chop up sections of the chapters and you are not sure if you should read them and then move on or finish the paragraph in the text and then go back and read them. Nevertheless they are helpful.

Die Young is a great book that will refresh your soul. The author’s honesty is most helpful. The chapter titles are catchy and thus easy to remember allowing you to return to reflection on their content. So pick up your shovels and dig your grave. Because death is the new life and red is the new white. Dig your grave where you will bury yourself in Christ, die to sin and live under the blood of Christ that makes you white as snow and free in Christ.

NOTE: I received this book from Crossway for free and was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.