“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Victory over Death in the Cross

…Christianity has an answer to this “problem of death.” Jesus Christ “has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). Death has been defeated, miraculously overturned, “swallowed up” in victory and life – it is reason for great celebration! A great evil has been transformed into God’s instrument for the greatest good. This was accomplished on the cross, in which Christ triumphed over his enemies, and revealed in the resurrection. C. S. Lewis puts it this way:

“On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more. On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall. Death…is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which he conquered.” – C. S. Lewis, Miracles, ch. 14
Through Christ’s death, then, death was destroyed. Christ paid the price for the sins of mankind on the cross, thereby fully and finally eliminating sin, which is the sting of death (1 Corinthians 15:56). In other words, Christ defeated the last enemy, the great weapon of the evil one, by turning it against itself. Death destroyed by death: it is a truly beautiful paradox. For a more complete description, see my posts on “The Victory of God,” especially “Death Destroyed by Death.”
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26

“I am the resurrection and the life.” – Jesus, John 11:25

“‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:54-55

“[Christ] partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death.” – Hebrews 2:14

“It was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” – Acts 2:24

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