Let’s be real about death.

I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (Jn. 11:25).

Concerning death, modern American Evangelicalism can seem much more like Epicureanism than biblical Christianity. The ancient Epicurean philosophers taught that the key to happiness is the experience of pleasure and evading pain. Death, being the ultimate pain, must be avoided and ignored. Many Evangelical funerals today have become “celebration of life” ceremonies or some other kind of forced-happiness occasion.

Biblical Christianity is much grittier and more direct than many of us might think. The Bible speaks much of suffering and death, and these ugly foes are confronted head-on. The Bible gives expression to what we know deep-down about suffering and death. Death is awful. Death is painful. Death is bad.

The Bible also speaks of a sure victory over death and suffering for those who look to Jesus Christ, who has already conquered such things. In fact, Jesus’ power over death is so certain that He calls Himself “the resurrection and the life.” Anyone who believes or trusts this masterful Savior will certainly and joyfully live, even in the face of death.

Immortality for Everyone? Yes, & No…

“Jesus said… ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…’” (John 11:25).

All humans know that death is certain, but somehow many people still seem to think that they can avoid or at least delay the inevitable. Our generation is by no means the first to crave immortality; I remember historical accounts of many European explorers losing themselves (and everything else) in search of the ‘fountain of youth’ somewhere in the South American jungle. The human race has a built-in longing for eternality, and the Bible explains our fascination in striking terms.

Jesus Christ is the only human to have ever conquered death, and this makes Him the authority on the subject. He said two things that are vital to understanding the biblical view of life, death, and immortality. First, Jesus said that life was not just something He had, but life is something He is. Jesus said, “I am the life” (Jn. 14:6); and, speaking of Himself, Jesus also said, “the Son [of God] has life in Himself” (Jn. 5:26). Second, Jesus said that everyone would exist forever, but only some would live eternally. Jesus said, “all who are in the tombs will… come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (Jn. 5:28-29).

The combination of these two things might be understood like this: Those who are connected with Jesus, who evidence this connection with goodness, will live forever. Those who are disconnected from Jesus, who evidence this disconnection with evil rebellion, will die under God’s judgment forever.

May God grant that we are counted among the former and not the latter, that we would be joined with Christ and live in Him forevermore.

%d bloggers like this: