“…our Saviour Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:10
Death is an undeniable experience of life. As the years pass, we become more aware of the inevitability of our death and that of those nearest to us. And we become increasingly conscious of the incomprehensible, ultimate mystery of death alongside the persistence of life. All religions offer some theology of death and what lies beyond it. Deep within, especially as age brings us face to face with bewildering complexities, we look for life and health here and beyond the coffin.
The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from great humiliation, suffering and death into life, changes everything. His rising from the grave opens a door for believers out of the darkness of human despair into the light of hope.
God is the ultimate reality. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In the final Bible Revelation, God is seen at the end of the road travelled by every human, proclaiming: “Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (Revelation 22:12,13).
Man clings so much to their body of flesh and its busy affairs in this world, that death is terrifying to contemplate. We forget that “we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” (1 Timothy 6:7). Without a spiritual perspective, the mixed-up, uncertain living on this decomposing planet passes for the real, complete, eternal life promised by our Creator. Jesus Christ, declared to be Creator and Saviour with us, says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).
The Bible ends with visions of “the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:11). There is also a Tree of Life, whose fruits are promised to “those who wash their robes.” This washing, symbolizing utter faith in Christ and removal of our moral guilt, prepares us for residence in the City of God. And even if the skeptic dismisses this Biblical language as only apocalyptic poetry, it does describe something real and tangible of life beyond suffering and graves.
For those who bow before Christ Jesus in reverence and faith, God has promised a New World Order. The prophets saw the first and present heaven and earth passing away and witnessed through visions the coming of the new heavens and new earth. In the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, “the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3,4).
For the faithful Christian believer this certain hope rests on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul argues decisively in his letter to the Corinthians: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, you are still in your sins…if only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” (1 Corinthians 15:14-20).
His Resurrection is proof that Jesus is all He claimed to be, the Son of God, the promised Saviour. It proves that He was sinless, the pure Lamb of God. If He was not, death and hell would have held Him. With Christ’s Resurrection, those who accept and obey Him should not fear death. 2 Timothy 1:10 needs close meditation: “This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Amazing words!
The spiritual perspective of the Biblical Christian faith, if understood in all its implications, brings order, patience and wisdom. The trivia, especially of social media today, distract us. We waste so much energy in entrenching our puny, passing power over others. Much of our anxiety, stress and neuroses come from an idolatrous concern with gossip, worldly ambitions, partisanships. We wallow in the besetting sins and vices of our lower natures. We refuse to walk, without hypocrisy, as men and women made beautiful and talented in the image and likeness of our Creator. We give room to secular philosophies that deny the existence of God and many are more open to superstitions and sci-fi speculations. So much spite, envy, bad-mindedness, unforgivenesses, uncleanesses, twist our faces and bodies into uglinesses and plant the cancers, thromboses, psychosomatic diseases that bring the death we fear but nurture.
All that is evil and unclean is deadly. There are many explanations offered for the horrendous criminalities and deep divisiveness in our societies, but ultimately these things have their roots in the spirits and minds. Death and hell are the kingdoms of darkness many already dwell in. We live under unbreakable eternal laws: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7,8).
Biblical Christianity is the “Way of Life.” Those who are controlled by their sinful nature “will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Dependence on the Risen Christ, prayer of faith that speaks simply to God, bring the Holy Spirit and the gift of true life. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-25).
Biblical Christianity, which accepts the authority of the Bible in all things, is much ridiculed today as it always was. Those who seek the essential faith of the Scriptures can find the peace, certainty and strength of the true Life given by the Spirit of God. Which takes us beyond sickness, death and the grave. A personal knowledge of the Bible and the One who speaks there gives the right view of this ancient faith, of life in our world, of the new order of righteousness coming under Christ the King. There we will find the true Life, present and eternal, that so many yearn for, are looking for.