The Death of His Saints
Scripture has much to say about physical death. Here, because we are all affected, we want to be reminded of a few thoughts relative to death that we hope are encouraging. Please reflect on the fact that the Lord says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones” (Psalm 116:15). Here are some important facts to bear in mind:
1. Physical death is not the end. Remember what Jesus said to Martha at the death of Lazarus? “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26) Paul noted that those saints who have passed with come again with the Lord when He returns, and he ended this section with, “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess 4:13-18).
2. Death is swallowed up in victory. Death is not the end, and that also means that death does not have the final say for us. We will all be changed, raised again, then death will be swallowed up in victory (1 Cor 15:50-57). “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about 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. 15:50-57) Passing from this life, if it is a life in Christ, results in final victory.
3. We are super conquerors through Christ. Again, Paul tells us that God is for us, and this means that nothing can tell us that God does not love us. “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:31-38)
4. We have an inheritance awaiting. Peter writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Pet. 1:3-5).
To be born again in Christ, having been immersed in His name for forgiveness and raised up with Him to walk a new life, means that we have this living hope of the great inheritance that is reserved in heaven.
5. God rewards those who seek Him. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
Seeking the Lord is the highest and most noble of all pursuits. Through the Lord, we gain an eternal perspective on reality — the very perspective Paul wrote about in 2 Corinthians 4-5, where Paul pointed out that “we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (4:18). He pointed out that our earthly bodies (tents) will be torn down, but we have an “dwelling from heaven” (i.e., imperishable body). Our morality will be swallowed up by life. Our aim is to please God and gain the victory promised over death.
In the end, we may rejoice in the truth of what John said: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)
On a personal note, I have been thinking about saints who have passed, so may I say this about the lives of those who have gone before us. They will speak to us. They will speak to us about the power of Jesus to create new life. They will speak to us about Christ’s purpose in dying for our sins. They will point to our need to listen to Jesus and know that through Christ we gain access to God. God’s grace is so rich and abounding, and we praise God for these examples.