Fear not life may be very startling message from the Lord Jesus to His children, but fear not death, is truly staggering. The great enemy of mankind is death and death will be the last enemy to be destroyed. Death is a cruel, implacable and awful enemy.. rightly labelled the King of Terrors. Death is an un-surveyed land. Death is unchartered waters. Death is undiscovered knowledge. Death is an unfamiliar path and an untravelled journey. Death is a once for all experience – for all.. save those who cannot relinquish its secrets.
Breathing out the last breath of life and giving up the spirit is one simple short act.. but disentanglement of the soul from the body is an unknown to all whose blood is living. And saints for centuries have faced the unknown, for little is explained about the process of dying. Death was never God’s intent for man. Death is the utterly unnatural. Man was not intended to die.. but by man and man’s sin came death. Man was not made mortal. Man was made a living soul, in-breathed with God’s life, but the wages of sin are death.. and death bears the wrath of God, and yet we are comforted by Christ’s astonishing proclamation to not fear death.. But how can He make this claim? Why can He brim with confidence, in His announced words of comfort?
Because He trod this path of death before us, and triumphed over the last enemy:- I am He that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore. He is able to make the bold claim – I fought Death; I conquered Death; I abolished Death. He alone is able to announce:- Death has no more sting to him that believes on me. Rather than death becoming a feared foe – death becomes a welcome friend. Death becomes the gateway to Life – and Life more abundantly.
Recently my own father exhaled his last gasp of air as death claimed its latest ‘victim.’ As I stood and looked at the empty shell that my father cast off… I was truly able to claim: Oh death where is your sting and victory… for to be absent from the body – is to be present with the Lord. This truth is faithful and glorious to all who trust in His name. This truth is as steadfast and sure for the cherished wife taken through cancer.. the young man cut down in his prime.. the little innocent who barely drew breath. Ahh, we may sorrow, at times and our hearts may grieve as we say farewell.. to a dearly loved one, whom we know we will never see again in this life – but praise God. We know Him Who through death.. destroyed the power of death.
O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law – but thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren – be steadfast, immovable.. always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in Lord. 1 Cor.15:58
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