June 19, 2014

Death Does Not Have the Last Word

1 Corinthians 15:50-58

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” … “Where, O death, is your sting?”
—1 Corinthians 15:54-55


In a class of teenagers I asked the question: “What happens when we die?” One student wrote, “I believe that death is not really the end of life. Our soul lives on even after we die. The Bible tells me that when I die I will go and be with my best friend, Jesus Christ, and live with him for eternity.”

She had it right: Death is not the end; it is the beginning of eter-nal life. That’s what Jesus said when standing at the grave of his friend Lazarus: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25-26). The apostle Paul summarizes this way: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

Life on earth is not a one-way journey to the cemetery. As a radio minister said in one of his messages, “When we die, we go on living on a different plane.” We simply change locations.

We can be assured of this because of Jesus’ resurrection. As Paul says in his great explanation of the resurrection, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Without Christ’s resurrection we have no future. But Christ has been raised from the dead, and our future is assured. “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” And that victory includes our own resurrection in the new heavens and earth. We too shall be raised as Christ has been raised! Hallelujah!

Lord Jesus, thank you for your victory over death and for assuring us that death does not have the last word. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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