Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Preach this to yourself: Death is a defeated foe

Death is stalking you.

This is nothing new. Death has been stalking you and me ever since we entered the world. And it will get us if our Redeemer doesn’t came back for us beforehand. For those who have been rescued from sin but won't be rescued from death, there is great news. Death is a defeated foe.

Death is our reality, because sin is our nature. Death came through sin (Rom. 5:12). We all are sinners, so we all will die unless Jesus returns first.

The gospel of Jesus doesn't prevent death. It defeats death, which the Bible describes as "the last enemy that will be abolished" (I Cor. 15:26).

That same chapter in the apostle Paul's letter opens with the gospel. By the end, the apostle Paul declares the verdict on death in light of the gospel -- which has the life, death and resurrection of Jesus at its center: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (I Cor. 15:54b-55).

Those in God's family are not immune to devastating grief in the face of death, whether we are the ones staying or departing. Yet, we can be assured death is not the final victor. The gospel tells us death is defeated and an even more glorious life awaits those of us who are in Christ, the resurrected Lord.

Todd Billings, a professor at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Mich., is living with incurable cancer. He told The Gospel Coalition in an interview last year: "I’m incredibly grateful for life and breath now, but I’m also getting more and more expectant for the age to come — to see Christ face to face, and to be made like him, with the whole church, in ways I can only faintly imagine now."

That is our future as well because of the gospel. Let's address our fear at least in part by preaching this gospel-centric message to ourselves before death comes for us or our loved ones: Death is a defeated foe.

(This is a slightly revised version of a previous post.)

-- Photo by Wang Xi on Unsplash

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