Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Great Demise Of The Monster Death

There is no event more solemn and weighty than a death. Yet it is a wonder that people regard death without much thought, even joking about it. Some people kill without much of a thought to what they are doing. Murder is just a statistic for some. But when you really know what comes after death, it becomes a very serious event.

  Death is not a native to this world. When Adam and Eve lived in Eden, there was no death. But after they sinned, death come into the world. People die because they are sinful. "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned." Rom 5:12. Now in this sinful world, death has become normal. We can't imagine a world without dying. While it is normal, it is still a shadow that haunts the lives of every person, even when they make jokes about it. In Hebrew 2:15, it says that Jesus died to destroy death and Satan "and to deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." People live all their lives in fear of death. Why? Well, God has put eternity in the hearts of all men. Eccles 3:11. That means that God has put into all people the sense that life doesn't end with death. We know that there is an afterlife. This is seen in all the different ideas of heaven or hell among all nations. Combine this with the God-given conscience which warns people that they are guilty, and you will understand why people are afraid of death. With death we seem to plunge into the unknown. Is there judgement to come for us?  We can try avoid death, but it will come to us. We can delay death but we can't escape it. It will hunt us down and we will all be caught in its net. But is there no hope? Is there real hope and not just fairy tales make up by people? In Isaiah 25:8, God gives us hope that death will die and with that all sorrow.

In the chapter that comes before Isaiah 25, we read of a worldwide judgement. There will come a day when God will pour out His wrath on a sin-defiled world. The earth will be almost emptied of people and shaken and broken. The evil spirits and unrepentant sinners will be cast into prison for a long time until judgement. The Lord will reign over all the world from Mount Zion. In chapter 25, Isaiah sings a song of praise on behalf of those who will be saved from that judgement. In verse 6 he describes the glorious feast that God will prepare for those whom He saved. Then we come to verses 7 and 8 which speak of the death of death. Consider verse 8, "He will swallow up death forever;" Death will one day disappear. How can this happen?

We learn the answer to this question in 1 Corinthians 15:4. Paul quotes this text in Isaiah there. "When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to the pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor 15:54-57.  Jesus won the victory over death by his sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection. He is the great Champion, the Conqueror. Not even death can stand before Him.  Now He can give eternal life to all those that come to Him for grace and mercy. Jesus died their death and has wiped away all their sins. Death has no power over them. The sting of death has been thrust onto Christ, so now for the redeemed, there is no sting in death.  For those who are forgiven, death is now a door into a new world of perfect joy. In the new heavens and the new earth, there will no more death at all. For after the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ upon this earth, all the dead will be judged. Along with the unredeemed, death and Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire; the second death. Rev 20:14-15 So the victory that was begun with the death and resurrection of Christ, will be completed.

With death, sin, evil and the devil will all be removed from earth and so there will no more tears. We cry at the death of those we love. We weep over our sins or over the sins of others. We may cry in our pain and trials. But here in this new world, there are none of the things that cause us to cry. The Lord will wipe away all our tears. He will as it were comfort us, like a father who holds his crying child and wipes away his tears with his hand and softly says  "All is well now. There is nothing to be afraid of." Likewise, " the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces," Isaiah 25:8. This expression is used of those believers who have suffered on earth but are now in heaven in Rev 7:17. It is also used of the new heavens and the new earth in Revelation 21:4. "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

  If you won't repent of your sins and beg forgiveness of Jesus Christ, all you have to look forward to is a never ending horror of death and pain. But if you have been given salvation by the great mercies of Jesus Christ, you have an eternity of joy and peace with God. No more tears will fall from your face. And the only reason you will be there, is the infinite grace of God in Christ. There is absolutely no difference between you and those who will suffer in hell forever. We deserve to be in the lake of fire. It is only because of the electing love of God that we are not there. What grace and love is this! No words can express it. Such divine love is "so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all." (from Isaac Watts' song, "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross")

 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23 


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