1 Corinthians 15:26 “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”
Do you have enemies? It seems if I were to ask that question to those around me, most would think they didn’t. No one wants to have enemies. Enemies cause trouble. When I think of someone that would be my enemy it would be someone who only wants to hurt or destroy me. If there were someone that fit this description, I would want to resolve our differences and would be fervently praying for wisdom in how to do this, unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.
The Word of God says that we do have enemies and in some cases that enemy can only be vanquished by God alone. What I find interesting is that God doesn’t always rid us of those who hate us, there are times He finds them of use in our lives in growing and strengthening His people.
Paul was troubled by many enemies, some of them were more troublesome than others.
2Corinthians 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Notice how God responded when Paul sought deliverance?
Enemies either reduce us to weakness or they expose our weaknesses. If a city was about to be attacked one of the first priorities would be the planning for how to reinforce it. Shoring up the defenses is important for preparation. If we fail to prepare, then when the battle occurs, wherever the weaknesses lie, is where the enemy exploits.
We have spiritual fortifications that must be reinforced.
What areas do we leave open for attack?
- A vice is something we feel dependent on and can be a route of attack. Whether they are vices such as alcohol or smoking, when we are dependent on something for our well being, dependence gives opportunity for fear.
- Safety is another inroad for fear. If I am worried about my health or someone I know then any threat to that safety brings with it a recoil from trusting in God’s provision. It is impossible to cover every threat we have, there is a point where we simply have to trust God’s and hand over our lives…the goal is to place everything under His control.
- Change can be very distressing. When my environment changes around me there is uncertainty. We we lack certainty in our lives we lack control. For those who want to maintain control over everything, there is a point when it becomes impossible. Will you finally trust God or do you try and hold onto everything as long as you can?
1 Corinthians 15:56 “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.”
- The fear of Death is a very compelling opportunity that the enemy readily takes advantage of. What is it about the prospect of dying that carries so much distress? Is it that people think it’s going to be some horrible experience that is like living a nightmare but in reality? I’ve watched people attempt to hold onto life through some of the most horrible circumstances. One surgery after another with amputations or some form of organ replacement, taking a mountain of medications while the pain and suffering from trying to stay alive seems far more tragic than the prospect of death.
According to the One who stands on the other side of death, the power of death has been vanquished. This was the one card Satan used to hold that held any kind of victory.
Hosea 13:14 “I will ransom them from the power of Sheol; I will redeem them from Death. Where, O Death, are your plagues? Where, O Sheol, is your sting? Compassion is hidden from My eyes.”
Those who went before Christ were held captive by the power of death. The Moral law brought condemnation upon all who offended it and there simply was no recourse. The sacrifice of guilt offerings only subdued the immediate offense, it couldn’t satisfy the condition by which man had been placed under—the expectation of perfection.
When God originally formed Creation, it was made after His own nature—
When man sinned, Creation became corrupt. All of Creation has been changed because of this rebellion.
When people bring accusation against God’s Creation, against all that they see as being devoid of love or reflected in hate…they bring accusations against their own nature.
Jesus paid the Ransom
Alive or dead, people had been held captive by death.
Jesus introduced perfection back into our world and through that perfection was able to ransom our souls. Through His death, He brought Life. By His love He fulfilled the requirement of the law, (which is condemnation), and once and for all paid the price for our iniquities.
Hallelujah!—-THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL.
When we die to ourselves, we take on the Life that Christ made possible to us. This is the great paradox of life.
Romans 7:6 “But now, having died to what bound us, we have been released from the law, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”
There now stands on the horizon, a great hope. We need no longer fear the uncertainty of death but we can rest assured in the certainty of Christ Jesus our Lord.
We must not neglect so great of a Salvation. The exuberance that we show in trying to keep our bodies alive should be redirected into what keeps our souls alive. Whether we die young or die old, on the spectrum of eternity the difference is miniscule.
People will say how much of a tragedy it was that someone was taken far too young. “They still had so much life to live”, are the concessions of remorse and yet I ask, what in life lost was it they regret?—-Working more hours? Purchasing more stuff? Having more parties? Please tell me what has such unsurpassing value that made their death such a tragedy? What does this world hold that has any value left in it at all?
Those who walk in the Spirit do the will of the Father and it is His perfect will that lends value to life.
If the Lord chooses to take someone “early”, there is a reason for it. When someone is in their 90’s and the family tells the physician to do everything they can to keep their family member alive, they treat them with a selfish hatred that makes those in health care just shake their heads in disgust. Far too many times I’ve watched a grandparent go through medical procedures that cause immense suffering only to die in their hospital beds soon thereafter.
Where we should place value is in the life that Jesus gives. We would then place greater emphasis on what is important to the Lord and less of what is important to us.
Mark 12:30-31 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
When we walk with a heavenly perspective versus an earthly one, we walk with a different purpose. Life becomes more worth living and death is a hope, not a curse.
Jesus has changed everything. Walk in Him and trust Him and the fear and anxiety will dissipate with the world and all that is in it.
There is hope. Die to yourself and live in it.