“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Friday, June 19, 2009

Death - Part II

We looked at death as a state of being in the last post, and in this one we will look at why it is inevitable and undeniable?

Romans 5:12 -- Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…

1st Corinthians 15:21, 22 -- For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.


Death is the result of sin – the sin of Adam, our father. Not just physical, but spiritual death was ushered into the world through the disobedience of the first Adam.

When someone dies, we are again reminded of that first sin of Adam, and the fact that the whole of creation groans for it’s redemption, looking forward to the return of the Savior, to the new heaven and new earth. Many Christians claim that when a fellow Christian dies we should not mourn; as if the act of mourning is somehow sinful. Believe me, I have done enough funerals to know that Christians mourn!

In reality, Paul says – 1st Thessalonians 4:13, 14 -- But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

When a loved one dies, we mourn, for our loss, for the fact that we miss them, for the very real fact that death is a reminder of man's fallen condition. However, having said that, we do not mourn LIKE those who have no hope, for we know that death for a Christian is a transition from here to heaven.

2nd Corinthians 5:6 – 8 -- So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

So, we now have a working definition of death, and we understand why death is, so let us now take a brief look at the reality of death and life for the Christian.

THE HOPE SET BEFORE US

So many today, even within Christendom, want to remove the pains and inconveniences of life. Some go so far as to say that these are caused by a lack of faith! But truth be told, these people are misled and misleading – like Job’s misguided and misinformed friends, they view pain, suffering and death exclusively as God’s punishment for their personal sins, whereas the Bible says that all people will undergo these things because of our sin nature that is inherent within mankind, and even more, Christians will undergo suffering and death for God’s glory. Much like Job’s suffering brought glory to God!

Having said that though, what is the hope of the Christian?

Well, first and foremost let us look again at 1st Corinthians 15:20 – 23 -- But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

Yes, death is a state of being, and yes, it was introduced into the world by the sin of the first Adam, but here is the great hope for all who are called by Christ – death has been defeated! Think about this; Jesus Christ came down to this earth, setting aside all of the glory that was rightfully His, and lived amongst man. During His first incarnation, He suffered – rejection, weariness, hunger and thirst, betrayal and many more things. Just as we are called to suffer, He suffered for righteousness sake. And then, He was nailed to a cross and suffered death – for sins that He never committed! He lay in the tomb for three days and was raised. It was as if we had died with Him – when He was raised, so were we. Into a newness of life!

Jesus was the firstfruits, and we will follow. Yes, when we die physically, our bodies will lie in the ground; but on that day when He returns, we will experience a resurrection like His – we will be in glorified bodies and will live in eternal joy in the presence of our Lord and Savior.

And in the interim, for those in Christ – they will dwell spiritually with Christ until they return with Him and like us, will be assume glorified bodies. So, when we lose a loved one who is in Christ, we can take comfort in knowing that they are in the presence of Christ; just as the thief on the cross, truly they will be in paradise – awaiting that glorious day when we will all be like Him, and know as we are known – when every tear shall be wiped away and we shall dwell in the light of the Lamb forever!

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