Death Has Met It’s Match
That through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is the devil.
In the death of Christ Jesus, Satan’s power of death met its match once for all. That death out dies all other deaths. Death in Adam does not finish a man, but death in Christ does. It is a mighty death. In Christ all those who deserve to die have died, with the result that he who had the power of death no longer has dominion over them. They are dead; and ashes are something of which you can never make a fire. Christ’s work was not only redemption, it was death’s destruction, with all that that means. A house once burned to ashes cannot be burned a second time, for if the first fire has done its work there is nothing for the next to do. For us redeemed sinners who have already died a death in Christ, death itself is passed away. We have become possessors of his incorruptible life.
Someone has said that the only things certain in life are death and taxes- death anyway. The Bible teaches that every person has an appointment with death followed by the judgement.
“And just as it is appointed and destined for all men to die once and after this [comes certain] judgment, so Christ, having been offered once and once for all to bear [as a burden] the sins of many, will appear a second time [when he returns to earth], not to deal with sin, but to bring salvation to those who are eagerly and confidently waiting for Him.”
Since that is so- everybody will die- then what’s left for us to decide is our destiny. That, my friend, is not left in the hand of God or anyone else’s hand. It’s our choice and ours alone. I often hear people saying that God sends people to hell and that He somehow deals with the human race unfairly. But neither is the case. Instead, He has set before us two choices and both of them have consequences- one to eternal life and the other to destruction and eternal suffering.
“Listen closely, I have set before you today life and prosperity (good), and death and adversity (evil); in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk [that is, to live each and every day] in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments (precepts), so that you will live and multiply, and that the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you will not hear and obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you will certainly perish. You will not live long in the land which you cross the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore, you shall choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding closely to Him; for He is your life [your good life, your abundant life, your fulfillment] and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord promised (swore) to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
So then how do we make the choice to gain eternal life? Jesus gives us the answer. As He meets with Nicodemus and others, the question that is raised is: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus says it’s simple: “Believe in me.” John records these words in his gospel:
“For God so [greatly] loved dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes has decided to trust in Him [as personal Savior and Lord] is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe [and has decided to reject Him as personal Savior and Lord] is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because he has not believed trusted in the name of the [One and] only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him].”
John 3: 16-18
So how does this work? Paul explains that once we receive Christ and He becomes our Savior and Lord, our lives are no longer lived to please ourselves but to please Him. Paul uses the dramatic contrast of death and life to illustrate this principle:
“For through the Law I died to the Law and its demands on me [because salvation is provided through the death and resurrection of Christ], so that I might [from now on] live to God. I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Galatians 2: 19-20
Do we see that we either die to self so that Christ may live or else we cater to self so that the influence of Christ is put to death. In order to truly live, we must die, for Jesus said that unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone.
Standing at the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus makes a powerful statement about life and death:
“Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, relies on) Me [as Savior] will live even if he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in Me [as Savior] will never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11: 25-26
There’s the answer. Those who have given up self and put their trust wholly in Christ will never die, but those who put trust in self will die eternally with no hope of a second chance. Today, we must ask ourselves who’s living in us. Is it us or is it Christ? And if Christ lives in us then we have no fear of natural death for it is nothing more than a transition from this world to heaven’s world. Those who have made this transition are more alive than any human on earth. But those who have not made the choice to live in Christ experience true death-separation from God- after their natural death. Which will we choose?
Dr. John Thompson