Now that we’ve reached the conclusion to this bulletin series, it’s interesting to look back over the many problems we’ve examined—hurt, strife, depression, loneliness, indifference, ignorance, pride, doubt, sin.
Though we have looked at Biblical cures to these problems, each has also been addressed by the world at large. Best-selling books have been written to address things like depression and ignorance.
But there is one enemy, one scourge upon humanity, which cannot be avoided by any means. That enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26) is death.
George Bernard Shaw said, “the statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of one people shall die.” All will experience death—the rich and the poor, the small and the great (Revelation 20:12), the healthy and the sick, the married and the single. Every single human being has an appointment to keep with death (Hebrews 9:27). There is no escaping it.
This fact creates despair in many hearts. Joseph Bayly wrote, “This frustrates us, especially in a time of scientific breakthrough, that we should be able to break out of earth’s environment and yet be stopped cold by death’s mystery. An electroencephalogram may replace a mirror held before the mouth, autopsies may become more sophisticated, cosmetic embalming may take the place of pennies on the eyelids, but death continues to confront us with its black wall. We may postpone it, but death is still there. The door of the hearse is never closed. Death spares none.”
There is one and only one answer that is provided to the problem of death—and that is salvation in Jesus Christ. No doctor, no politician, no theologian can solve death. Only God Himself, who is eternal, can provide a way to overcome death.
Jesus won the victory over death. While Jesus was still walking about on the earth and explaining God, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25–26). Jesus also promised eternal life. In John 6:47 Jesus says, “He who believes has eternal life.”
Jesus didn’t simply assert this. He proved it by His own resurrection from the dead. He promised ahead of time that He would be raised (John 2:18–22). When the disciples came to the tomb the Sunday after Passover, they found it was empty, and the grave clothes neatly folded where the body had been. Over the next several days, Jesus appeared to His disciples to prove that He was alive. Christ’s resurrection verified all that He claimed for Himself, and served as the foundation for preaching salvation in His name (Acts 2:22–36). In fact, Paul says that faith is pointless without His resurrection—it would be better to return to a worldly life (1 Corinthians 15:12–19).
It has been said that after the resurrection of Jesus Christ at the end of the gospel of John, the Bible never again uses the word death to describe the end of life for a Christian—rather, it uses the word “fallen asleep.”
They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep (Acts 7:59-60)
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
Now, those in Christ can view death not as a period, but as a comma, merely separating the physical life from the better spiritual life that awaits. Through Christ, death is drained of its worry and sting (1 Corinthians 15:55). A day is coming when we all shall experience the same resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18).
Through the power of Jesus Christ, death itself shall die. In the final judgment scene, death itself is thrown into the lake of fire which is eternal destruction (Revelation 20:14).
In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).