April 22, 2015

That’s Why We Sing

1 Corinthians 15:50-57

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” . . . Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

—  1 Corinthians 15:54, 57

At almost every memorial service I have led throughout my years of ministry, I have read today's verses. When people were faced with the reality of death, it was my privilege to say for all to hear, "Death has been swallowed up in victory." Sometimes the congregation would respond with a song that includes these words: "Death cannot keep its prey—Jesus, my Savior; he tore the bars away—Jesus my Lord."

That is the reality for all believers who find themselves mourning in a funeral home or beside a grave, faced with what the apostle Paul refers to as "the last enemy" (1 Corinthians 15:26).

We can be sure of this because of Jesus' claim 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).

Take the time to memorize or reread these words of our Lord Jesus and of the apostle Paul, because someday each one of us will face death. Remember these words when you find yourself standing before an open grave. Give your life to the Lord Jesus, the risen Savior who assures us that death has been swallowed up in victory. He is our guarantee that death will not have the last word!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that death does not have the final word. Thank you for overcoming death for us. In your name we pray. 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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