In my previous post, I looked at death as a state of being, and in this post 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 entered into the worl as the result of sin; the sin of Adam. Not just physical but spiritual death was ushered into the world through the disobedience of the first Adam. So when someone dies, we are reminded of the wages of sin, which is death. Therefore the whole of creation groans for it’s redemption, looking forward to the return of the Savior, and the inauguration of the new heavens and new earth, a time when sin, death and the grave are permanently cast into the Lake of Fire.
It is in vogue nowadays for Christians to make the statement that when a fellow Christian dies we should not mourn; as if the act of mourning is somehow sinful. This is not the normal response when we lose a loved one. To demand that a Christian is somehow failing in their faith by mourning is not only cruel, but unbiblical, and fails to understand that we have been built to mourn and hate death, for it is a result of the sin that permeats the world.
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; we mourn for our loss, for the fact that we miss them, and for the very real fact that death is a reminder of creation’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 time when they will transition to Heaven to await that time of our Savior’s final return.
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 occurs, so let us now take a brief look at the reality of life and death 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 the sin nature that is inherent within mankind, and beyond that, we are told that Christians will undergo suffering and death for God’s glory.
Having said that, then what is the hope of the Christian? Well, 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.
Death 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! 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, thirst, betrayal and many more things up to, and including death. He suffrered all the infirmities and trials of our human nature, yet without sinning. 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. The redeemed, in their union with Christ, died with Him on the cross.
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 for some period, while our soul dwells in heaven; 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.
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 like the thief on the cross, they are 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! When the trump sounds, the Redeemed will receive glorious bodies and dwell in the very presence of our King in the New Heavens and the New Earth for all of eternity. Death has been defeated!