The Christian and Death

“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

When the Bible speaks of a Christian’s death, it uses non-threatening terms and expressions. For example, the Apostle Paul calls it “sleep” (see the verse above). The apostle Peter likens his own pending death to the putting aside of a tent (2 Peter 1:14). How can they speak this way about so traumatic an event as death?

In Christ, the sting and pain of death have been removed:

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55).

For the Christian, death means our soul separates from the body, and departs to be with Christ (1 Corinthians 5:8). Paul calls death “far better” than remaining on in this life (Philippians 1:23). Christ has removed the sting from death. Old writers used to call death, the “king of terrors.” But not in Christ. Christians know whom they have believed, and are persuaded God can keep them until He takes them home (2 Timothy 1:12). Truly the believer looks at death differently than the unbeliever.

Having a proper understanding of death leads to a proper view of life. Since God promised us eternal life and has removed the trauma from death, we should spend our days loving and laboring for Him. When others are faced with grief and suffering, we can point to a hope beyond the grave. Paul would remind his readers of our hope:

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Child of God, rejoice in hope and remain patient in tribulation. Your God will come and bring His reward with Him. We have no need to panic at the thought of death, because death opens up our entrance into God’s heavenly kingdom. Death serves as a door to better things. But while we’re here, we need to spread this hope to others who presently have no hope.

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