Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Victory that overcomes the World!

Oh my heart is grieving right now.  I grieve the loss of 2 individuals, one a believer, and one not, both personal friends.  I also grieve my lack of boldness in the proclamation of the gospel. 

The Scripture says that Death is the last enemy (1 Cor. 15:26).  Death has been swallowed up in victory.  But what of the death of the wicked? How is this a grace?  Is it not so final?!  How can one say death is swallowed up in victory, yet death still swallows up men & women, in apparent indiscriminate form - regardless of belief or lack of such?

Death is indeed gracious to the believer, in that his hope is beyond the grave, in the sight of his Savior, and the acquisition of his new body without sin.  And, as in the case of my believing friend, they suffered great physical pain, especially towards the end, so the suffering being over, is a great grace - though painful to those of us left.

We know that God is good.  Even to His most essential characteristics, He is good - just Google "God is good Bible verses" and more than 50 verses speak of his goodness will show up!  So how, in light of His goodness, is death of the wicked any good thing?  Ezekiel 33:11 states, "Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?"

God desires them to turn to Him and live.  But the fact that they do not, is no slight against the character of God.  Their death however, is a reminder to the living that we are sinners.  The wages of sin is death. (Rom. 6:23) It is a reminder to the living that there is a day when we must give account (Heb. 4:13).  And we need to take it to heart, for our days are not in our own hands.(Psa. 31:15)   We know not the day or hour of our death.  Their death is a sober reminder that while He is patient toward all, not wishing that any perish, (2 Peter 3:9) it is the case that we will die, and we'd best get our house in order beforehand, and keep short accounts with Him!  This is a gracious God!

In Ecclesiastes we read,

"Better to go to the house of mourning
Than to go to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth." (Ecc. 7:2-4)

The victory over death which Christ won is shown in the resurrection of Christ. Read 1 Corinthians, chapter 15.   To the Believer, this is the great hope, to see our risen Lord, and to be clothed from on high with our new incorruptible bodies.  No longer will we have to groan as Paul did in Rom 7, “Oh wretched man that I am!

Lord - though it is a grief to us, help us to be sober minded and honor while we live today, for we may indeed have to stand before you tomorrow!  Amen.

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