The grief of death paints my abode—streets and structures—pale and decrepit. Nothing of earth surpasses its power; I have seen no mere man pierce to true light beyond this affixed shadow. Firm is death’s power to dominate humankind.
But almost unnoticed, the world creates death into a lull—a sinking song—that looks no further than to self. It whispers that unless I abide by the gritty baseness and the meaninglessness of life (apart from living for self), I am inexperienced—or, cannot make much of this life at all. The enemy exploits itself for all it has—convincing masses that today is it. So, “live your truth,” “follow your heart,” “stay positive,” “because nothing ultimately matters, almost anything can”—so goes its hell-founded song.
This is deceit of the devil—as though some power of death could be shifted to man because it has been made eerily artful, wrapped in a dull, philosophical glow. As if there is nothing to fear of death because “self has lived!”
No! Death is no song—but mankind its slaves. The enemy does not rightly captivate, but the world is its captive. If, apart from Christ, I would know no fear of death—would confess no sorrowful subjection to its power—how could I see what Christ has done, in partaking of humanity and putting foot to soiled ground?
Lies about death can be rejected in knowledge of Him who shared in the shadow, though Himself spotlessly pure. Where sin fell, He fell Himself beneath it, “so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Heb. 2:14b-15). No mere man could pierce death to slide slimly past his inevitable future; only could death reign because of man. But the God-Man, Jesus Christ, more than pierced—crushed—evil powers; if by mere man death could govern this world, much moredoes the God-Man bring His reign.
“For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much morewill those who receive the abundant grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
Romans 5:17, emphasis added
Much more through Christ:
“Because of one man’s trespass”—Adam’s—death first came to all mankind as a “ruthless ruler.”¹ Butthose who are in Christ“become the rulers (cf. Rev. 1:6) whose kingdom is one of life!”² In Christ is found such certain and abundant life in place of death that it is not said, “life reigns”—but those who believe reign in life, to His praise.
Much more through Christ:
Over being self-owed, believers “expatiate in a life divinely ownedand legally secured, ‘reigning’ in exultant freedom and unchallenged might, through that other matchless ‘One,’ Jesus Christ!”³ For death is not one time, but after the first comes judgment—and then the second death, eternal in span. So, those reigning in Christ are said to be secured, unchallenged. Death, the second, will last forever, but the divinely owned will never meet it. Rather, they will exult in the freedom of their Lord.
Much more through Christ:
No longer feeding on the world’s bloated, supersaturated, choking pleasures of natural impulses and empty, “positive” recitations—which are the taste of chocolate, with the bite of poison—God’s righteousness is free to receive. This righteousness is “offered to all by God [yet] must be appropriated by an individual by faith.”4 Those who receive it “stand forth enriched with God’s ‘abounding grace’ and in the beauty of a complete absolution from countless offenses.”5 By grace, the faith-possessing are dry of all sins, which are offensive to the Father, because their sins—exchanged for righteousness—were put upon the perfect Son.
Jesus teaches that death is not as man might naturally imagine; its true sounds are weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 13:41-42). One day, no veil of deceit will obscure it. Those who are afraid of passing through it alone, without Christ, hear the beginnings of the truth, seeing hearths as broken, paths as bent, and futures as hollow.
And so, when I saw my emptiness without Him, I turned to Christ as I was—“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). While I was still weak, still fearing, still sinning, still under the pull of the world—He gave Himself for me so that through Him, life might swallow death (1 Cor. 15:54) instead of the other way around. This glory song is heaven-sent: truth, freedom and forgiveness, sin- and death-crushing promise.
“As sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Without Him, I would be overshadowed by death or misled by strangling “positivity.” But with Him: grace, truth, obedience, righteousness, growth, protection, reigning, glory, worship—life forevermore.
1. John F. Walvoord, and Roy B. Zuck, Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 459.
3. Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 233 emphasis added.
4. Walvoord, and Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, 459.
5. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory, 233.
This post was originally published at Hope Mommies.