This week I was speaking with a pastor-friend and he mentioned someone he knew who was dying of cancer. I was encouraged as he spoke of how her hope in God for the resurrection transformed the manner in which she approached death. While obviously there is great grief and pain she endures these things knowing that the best is yet to come. Christ’s resurrection guarantees that fact. The conversation got me thinking.
The COVID19 thing has exposed just how uncomfortable so many in our society are with death. For a long time it has been popular in our secular society to speak of death as a “friend”. I am not hearing that any more. Our society has “pulled out all stops” to try to hold the virus at bay. Many live with an imminent sense of threat.
For the Christian death is never a friend. It is an enemy (1 Cor 15.26); A scar defacing the beauty of God’s purposes in creation. Jesus is both grieved (Jn 11.35) and angered (Jn 11.38) by death. It is always an enemy, never a friend.
But death is a defeated enemy. Jesus has conquered sin and death, in his life perfectly fulfilling God’s law and on the cross suffering its’ just penalty for us.
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Cor 15.55-57 NIV11)
Brothers and sisters, are we those who live as those who believe in the resurrection of the dead? Does the victory of Christ transform our lives? Does it give “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow”?
I don’t write this to provoke guilt but to point us all to the hope we have.
Will we pray that God will comfort our fears with the perfect promise contained in the gospel of Christ? We need not fear. We have a hope that death cannot touch. Will we join with the Apostle Paul in thanking God for the victory of his Son?
Let me leave you with some words from an old hymn as an encouragement.
My rest is in heaven, my rest is not here.
Then why should I tremble when trials are near?
Be hush’d, my sad spirit, the worst that can come
But shortens my journey, and hastens me home.
“My Home is in Heaven” Henry Lyte
Listen to a modern interpretation by Sovereign Grace Music HERE.
Pastor | Trinity Church Brighton
0432 578 460 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Day Off Fridays