The last enemy to be defeated is death. Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Let’s sum up our resurrection series by looking at death being the last enemy to be defeated. Last time I wrote about this topic, I wrote about how a great reversal has taken place. What we read in the Bible is that the last enemy to be defeated is death. What this means for us is right now the conflict is going on and more and more ground is being claimed by the Kingdom of God. We must realize that there is not one part in this world that each side of the battle wants to make a claim and say “Mine!” as C.S. Lewis said.
The great enemy that we have in this world is death. Most of us spend our lives trying to avoid it. If we are eating, drinking, exercising, trying to sleep well, etc. we are doing so to avoid death. We avoid pain because it can be a reminder of who we are. We don’t really like to think about our own mortality. It can seem amazing to us sometimes to think about all that went on in this world before we showed up. It is something to think about as well that the world will go on just fine without each and everyone of us after we’re gone.
This does not mean that our lives are meaningless. The world does not depend on us, but that is different from saying we have no impact. We are all to spread the message of the Kingdom of God. In fact, if my understanding of 2 Peter 3 is correct, this is one way that we can indeed hasten the return of Christ. We will all have some kind of impact. Everything you do is shaping you in some way and some of those actions will shape others. The kind of person you are will also affect how you are with everyone else.
Nevertheless, our light will end at one time. That will be in death. Depending on how you live your life, you could still have an impact after your death. Aristotle died over 2,000 years ago, and yet he still lives on in his teachings today. Who else lives? All the people we don’t know about who were a part in shaping Aristotle to be the person who he became. We speak of Jesus having the greatest impact of all, which He did, but His parents helped shape Him. Who shaped them? Several people lived their lives in anticipation for the one who was to come and in living a holy life, were preparing for Him.
Death ultimately is not the end, but there is still the problem of separation. At the time being, my wife and I live in my grandmother’s old house. There are times that I can think that this is her house and wonder what it would mean if she could see how Allie and I are living now. With what I wrote about Jonathan in my post on Jonathan’s Impact, I can wonder the same thing about him.
When it came time for my grandmother’s funeral, I knew that it was coming. Her death was not a shock for me. She’d been very sick and it was only a matter of time. I was sad when I heard about it, but I did not break down. I was being strong and had left Charlotte with Allie preparing for the service. It wasn’t until I walked into the funeral home and saw her that I just broke down. The reality hit me. I can never call her up again, tell her what’s going on, get to hug her, etc.
Death is incredibly saddening to think about.
Now as a husband, it is something I think about more and a reason I want to take good care of myself. What would happen to Allie if something happened to me? It makes me want to take care of myself, especially since I’m nearly a decade older than she is. Statistically, my time would come first. I still have the hope that my ministry partner has that she will die the day before I do.
We can be thankful then that death does not have the final word.
Jesus promised us in the resurrection that he had taken on death and that He had won. This means not just the resurrection of our bodies, but the resurrection of everything. Everything is moving towards resurrection. Our entire cosmos is to be resurrected in Christ. When we resurrect, we will resurrect in a way that death will be no longer capable of hurting us. It will be an old memory. We will live in a world where we will never have to say good-bye.
Death is dead at that point. It is no more. The life you live with the one you care about now will be one that is never-ending. I do not know what that means entirely. None of us do. That’s something I find fascinating about the biblical picture of eternity. There’s very little detail. Other systems often try to tell us exactly what we will be doing. For instance, in Islam, we have the one man with seventy virgins. From my perspective, this is just taking a great earthly pleasure and making it a heavenly one. In a sense, it is a heavenly one, but the true pleasures of heaven will fully transcend the greatest pleasures on Earth.
I look forward to the day when death is dead. I look forward to the day when I will never have to say good-bye. I look forward to the day when life will be a never-ending journey of knowing more about God. That last line reminds me of the continuity. I am shaping and preparing for that now. This life is not accidental. It is the preparation for the heavenly community. I intend to be ready. I know that if death cannot have the last laugh, nothing else is worth worrying about.
Isn’t that good news?