“A cleft has opened in the pitiless walls of the world, and we are invited to follow our great Captain inside.” -C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”
Category Archives: Physical Death and the Intermediate State
If Death Has Been Conquered By Christ, Why Do Christians Die?
“To be sure, in dying for them, Christ has fully borne and so secured the removal of the punishment that their sins justly deserve (e.g. Rom. 3:25-26). Nothing Paul says even remotely suggests anything else. But for them, death, as the just punishment for sin, has not yet been removed so far as the body is concerned. For Paul, however certain death’s eventual removal for believers, to the extent that death remains and to the degree that it is operative, the effects of punishment for sin and the curse on it continue. In that respect, death, as punishment and curse for sin, is not yet removed. The culminating note of exhortation on which the chapter ends (vv.57-58 [1 Cor. 15:57-58]) is consonant with this conclusion. Paul assures Christians, “Your labors are not in vain in the Lord,” and that is true because of “God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” But, in light of the immediately preceding verses (note the references to victory in vv. 54-55 [1 Cor. 15:54-55], for them that death-destroying victory, while secured and certain, is still future.” Richard Gaffin, By Faith, Not By Sight, pg. 103.
Illustrations: Sin and Death
Illustrations Are Our Friends: Grief
“The death of a spouse after a long… marriage is quite a different thing. Perhaps I never felt more closely the strength of God’s presence than I did during the months of my husband’s dying and after his death. It did not wipe away the grief. The death of a beloved is an amputation.” -Madeleine L’Engle
The Resurrection and Death
“‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ (1 Cor. 15:55). Most of us hate or fear wasps and bees precisely because of their sting. But if I knew that, somehow, the sting of these creatures had been removed, would I really go into contortions every time one hovered nearby? A stingless wasp would be one we could swat away playfully. No threat at all.
Well, we now have only a stingless death ahead of us. This is not to trivialize the pain that might come with death, for us and for those we leave behind. But it is to recognize that it has been robbed of its greatest sting: sin. Death is not now the prelude to judgment and condemnation, but to a new perfected life. Christians can approach it differently. We have hope- living, breathing, growing hope.” -Sam Allberry, Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life, pg. 101
The Resurrection and Self-Image
“For Christians, death is not the end, but a new beginning…One Christian lady in her mid-fifties told me recently that this is why she doesn’t bother to dye her hair. She said she doesn’t mind the process of ageing affecting her appearance. Her perspective has been shaped by resurrection hope. The best is not behind her; it is to come. The body I have and am– this body now– is not ultimate. Even at its peak it doesn’t come close to the body I will have. Grey hairs are therefore not a threat but a promise. The gradual slowing down of the body, the processes of physical ageing and decay that anticipate our final passing, these are not (to borrow a phrase) the beginning of the end, but just the end of the beginning. Better is to come–much better! Death is the transition to resurrection. We can therefore look it in the eye: it has lost its sting: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55) -Sam Allberry, Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life, pp. 100-101.