Nov 4, 2009, 4:10 PM
"Death gets its power to hurt from sin, and sin gets its power from the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:56)
All who live shall die, because dying is part of life. Death is the culminating point in the process of living. There is nothing one can do to stop death or reverse its trend. All around us the evidence of death stares us in the face. All living things decay and are no more and yet at the thought of death or at its approach, we panic. We do not want this life to come to an end.
Death as an event in the life of a human being commenced when Adam and Eve sinned. It was the verdict God had pronounced on the couple for bad behaviour." You are free to eat of any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will die. (Genesis 2:16-17) If it had not been for their disobedience, Adam and Eve would have lived eternally.
The Bible teaches that "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23) As a result of the sin Adam and Eve committed, we have to coexist with death. What therefore should our attitude be? What does the Bible tell us that should appease us about dying?
Whilst death may seem like a halt to the process of living, it has not succeeded in putting a permanent lid to living for Christians. Death as we understand it is a passageway to a better kind of life. Our earthly life is but transitory and death the full stop. Unfortunately, we will not be around here for very long, even if we willed it. Yet death for some people has become a snare, a trap; a feeling we must fight against at all costs. Some think of death as a failure and as an unhappy ending to a life of bliss on earth.
Solomon in his wisdom summed up death in these terms: "Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs, and what does he gain, since he toils for the wind?" (Ecclesiastes 5:15) Indeed, death breaks all affectionate links and severs us from all we have taken delight in. We depart this life the same way we came - naked.
Paul the apostle once questioned which would be a better option for him? To continue living or to die and be with the Lord? (Philippians 1:23) He found an answer to his question when he wrote: "Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. ... We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:6,8)
For now however, whilst we have breath, we should concern ourselves with living, with life. The dead cannot come back to life and we must stop wasting resources on them. The psalmist declares: "The Lord is not praised by the dead, by any who go down to the land of silence. But we the living will give thanks to Him now and forever." (Psalm 115:17-18) God does not receive praise from the dead. "In the world of the dead you are not remembered; no one can praise you there." (Psalm 6:5) Prophet Isaiah also wrote: "They are now dead, they live no more; those departed spirits do not rise." (Isaiah 26:14)
There is no salvation from physical death. In order for us to have an encounter with the Lord one has to die. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." (Psalm 116:15) On the other side of death are God's loving arms extended in welcome to all believers. There is no devil's trap awaiting us in death only a divine embrace from a gracious God.
Christians have a hope in the life after death. "If our hope in Christ is good for this life only and no more, then we deserve more pity than anyone else in all the world." (1 Corinthians 15:19) "For just as all people die because of their union with Adam, in the same way all will be raised to life because of their union with Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:22) Those who are living for Christ are assured eternal life even though they will die. "If the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit who lives in you." (Romans 8:11)
We are spiritual beings and our home is in heaven, there is no point wanting to sojourn here indefinitely. "Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Philippians 3:20-21)
Do you fear to die? God's mission and desire as our Maker is to destroy death in favour of life for all people who believe in his Son. "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:12) Death must not be a nightmare! There is no reason for one to fear death to the point of being haunted by it. When Christians die they will be raised to life again. "This is how it will be when the dead are raised to life. When the body is buried, it is mortal; when raised, it will be immortal. When buried, it is ugly and weak; when raised, it will be beautiful and strong. When buried, it is a physical body; when raised it will be a spiritual body." (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
In the book of Job, one of his friends Bildad alludes to death as 'the king of terrors' (Job 18:14) But do not let death terrify you because "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)
God has prepared a way for you and for me by giving us His Son. "For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life." (John 3:16)