One day we must all face this enemy. It is inevitable, an inescapable fact! We can live for a time in denial of this fact but then we are confronted with it through the terminal sickness or death of someone we are close to.
The current pandemic has made us realize that life here on earth is very fragile and very temporary and it can unexpectedly be cut short.
Despite all the beauty we see in creation, we are also surrounded by death and decay, even in nature. The Bible, in the first few chapters of Genesis, tells us how this all came about. With sin came death.
When we are young we do not often think of death but we know that even young lives can be ended through disease or accident. As we get on in years, we realize that our days here on earth are numbered. Yet still, there is a tendency to set this thought aside and continue to live for the moment, getting on with life and enjoying the temporary pleasures it affords.
As Christians, we must look at death through the lens of Scripture and not through the lens of this world. We have a wonderful and different perspective! It is through faith in Jesus Christ and what He has done for us that gives us hope both in this life and for the future.
Death is the last enemy Christians face and it is a formidable enemy. The fear of death can overwhelm us. However, God has given us the antidote to this fear in the familiar words of the twenty-third psalm. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” You see, for the Christian, death is but a shadow.
Friends, we have hope, for we have the One who has conquered death – Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. Romans 6:9,10 states – “knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead will never die again. Death has no more dominion over Him. For the death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God.”
No longer does death have dominion over Jesus, but He has dominion over death. And not only over death but over sin, for “He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Peter’s sermon at Pentecost gives us more insight into Jesus’ dominion over death, in that it was impossible for death to hold Jesus in the grave. Acts 2:24 – “Whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”
At Easter we sing in triumph – “Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o’er His foes.”
In Revelation1:18 we read Jesus’ own words – “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and Death.”
Jesus is now the One who holds the keys to Death and Hell. To have the keys to something denotes ownership. Jesus’ resurrection gave Him ownership. What does He do with these keys? He will use them to destroy Death and Hell! “Then Death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” Revelation 20:14.
Those who have repented of their sins and accepted all that Jesus has done for them have nothing to fear. For them, there is no “second death”.
However, the Bible tells us that those who have rejected Christ in this life will face God as their Judge. All our good deeds will not save us; our lifetime of going to church will not save us neither will our parents’ faith save us. It is only our relationship with the One who has conquered death that can bring us eternal salvation.
We, who are reading this, have not yet faced death ourselves. We are still walking this earth with the work God has given us to do. Let us continue our walk with Him, growing closer to Him each day so that when we come to the valley of the shadow of death, we will rejoice in the glorious future He has promised to those who love Him.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9