How should we understand death?

10 truths about death

  1. Death is a curse Death is the result of a curse on humanity because of our rejection of the rule of our Creator (Genesis 2:16-17). God declared that humans must “return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). All people from the time it was announced have returned to dust. 
  2. Death is a penalty – “For the wages of sin is death….” (Romans 6:23)
  3. Death is an inheritance – “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
  4. Death is an enemy – Death is an enemy and a thief –not a welcomed friend. Death is a separator. It brings things to an end and removes loved ones from our presence. But gratefully, our Creator did not allow death to have the final word. Jeremiah the prophet animated death when he wrote: “Death has climbed through the windows and has entered our fortress; it has cut off the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares.” Death is an enemy that stalks and threatens us  (Jer. 9:21). But death is “The last enemy to be destroyed is death”  (1 Cor. 15:26). 
  5. Death is agony and a cause for sadness – “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (Acts 2:24). Jesus wept and we grieve (see: John 11:32-36; I Thessalonians 4:13)
  6. Death is a spiritual and a physical reality – “As for you, you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you used to live …. We were dead in transgressions…” (Eph. 2:1-2, 5); “the body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26). 
  7. Death occurs twice for unbelievers – “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8).
  8. Death has been conquered by Jesus Christ – “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave” (Revelation 1:17-18).
  9. Death cannot hold those who believe in Christ – “Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying” (John 11:25). “But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57).
  10. Death will be defeated and banished –  ”when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (I Corinthians 15:54). “Christianity is, among other things, the wonderfully good news that this life is not our whole story” (Robert Roberts).

Two final questions

1. Should we expect to live after our earthly lives end?

The story of Jesus didn’t end with death because, “God raised him up putting an end to the agony of death since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power” (Acts 2:24).

And because Jesus broke the power of death, those who trust him as their Savior rest confidently in his promise, “my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:39-40).

Based on this promise, I expect to be resurrected one day. But when I say I expect to be resurrected, I am not merely saying I expect to live after the death of my physical body.

Resurrection is more than life after death. Resurrection is life after life after death. Yes, you read that correctly. Resurrection is bodily life after life after death. It’s postmortem existence stage two. I expect to return to identifiable bodily existence just as Jesus returned (see: Philippians 3:20).

2. Is the body is important to God?

Six events of history support the importance of the body.

  1. Creation: God fashions the body from the dust of the earth
  2. Incarnation: God enters the body prepared for him (Hebrews 10:5)
  3. Resurrection: (Christ’s and ours)
  4. Ascension: Jesus has bodily existence at the Father’s right hand
  5. Salvation: The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit
  6. Glorification: Final redemption of the body (Romans 8 )

If we take Jesus Christ at his word, everyone should expect to be resurrected. Jesus said, “a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28-29).

Steve Cornell


This entry was posted in Afraid to die, Afterlife, Death, Death of Christ, Eternal life, Fear of death, Resurrection, Salvation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How should we understand death?

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