Sunday, March 23, 2014

How Death Died

It was a fair enough question the atheist asked: “Why did an all powerful God have to die to save Humankind”? As the Passover or Easter event draws near we are once again confronted by this issue. Does the Bible give us some answers? Yes!

There are many reasons for the necessity of the cross of Christ. Of course there is the issue of our salvation and the conquest of sin. However there is one aspect more often than not left unconsidered. In Romans 5 it is written that ‘Death reigned from the time of Adam.’ (Biblically this precludes any such thing before Adam’s treasonable act of Genesis 3) Notice the word ‘reigned’ it intimates sovereignty. Death is personified and it claimed superiority over the Sovereignty of the Creator God who is Life.

Here is a direct challenge that must be answered. It is a contest in which there can be only one who reigns supreme. But here is the problem for the God revealed in the Bible, how can Life beat death? The only answer can be found in the pages of Scripture and the person and purposes of Christ Jesus. Death can only be defeated by embracing it, dragging it into the tomb, and crushing its power by personal resurrection. This is a major reason for the need for God to become Emmanuel, God with us in human form. Here is the reason for the virgin birth so that the human nature would be without a sin nature. Here again is why the Lord God went to so much effort to present in symbol, prophesy and promise a plan which culminated in an historical time and upon a cross.

Even if after the crucifixion, the entombing and the resurrection of Jesus Christ no one became a believer in Him, Jesus still had to die. Only by that means could Jesus render death powerless by His physical resurrection. That is the great angelic victory shout ‘He (Jesus) is not here (in the tomb) He is risen!’ Ever since that glorious day the Church’s anthem has been that fact. Ever since the cross and the resurrection the gospel has been proclaimed. Ever since and for all eternity the resurrection declares Death has been dethroned, ‘It’ is no longer able to claim sovereign status. Though it remains our enemy it is doomed to utter destruction on the day Christ Jesus returns as Judge and to rule His creation. (Revelation 20)

To look on the Easter/Passover event simply as referring to our forgiveness event achieved by Jesus is to limit its majesty and power. The cross of Christ bears testimony to a Cosmic conflict affecting all creation with eternal consequences. Some will view the cross as stupid, others as an offence. Those who have eyes to ‘see’ and a heart to believe embrace it as the power and grace of God. For such people they understand that Jesus is The Life which triumphed over the Usurper Death. As such Jesus has crushed its hold over believers in the risen Lord. There is just so much more for you to know even on this one aspect of the Cross of Christ. I invite you to read such passages as 1 Corinthians 15; Isaiah 25:6–10; Revelation 1:1–18 as starters.

Because Jesus Christ is the risen Lord, the sovereign of Creation, Eternal Life and conqueror of Death, Sin and Satan, an invitation is given to you. That is, become a partaker in his victory. Let Him break the power and fear of death in and over your life by asking Jesus to be your Lord and Saviour. Let His resurrection life become your possession now and it will last you through all eternity.

(For those able and interested in obtaining and reading two devotionals which explain some of these issues see my ‘The Bethlehem Warrior Baby’ and ‘Captured by Calvary.’ Both are printed by ‘Even Before Publishing’ or can be obtained through any Christian bookshop).

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