Wesleyan Accent


Victory Over Death by Maxie Dunnam

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There is no if about death. The question is more accurately put, “When a person dies, shall he or she live again?” 

Not one line of the New Testament was written… not one sentence was penned apart from the conviction that He of whom these things were being written had conquered death and was alive forever. Death is inevitable, and nowhere is the fact put more starkly than by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, “It is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Yet, in the Christian faith and experience, death is not the victor, and death is not the end. Someone has put it cryptically, The difference between life and death is more than a tombstone. The difference is Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26). Through his resurrection, Jesus conquered death. Paul reminded his young friend, Timothy, that “Christ [has] abolished death” (2 Timothy 1:10). He taught the Corinthians that death is “the last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26). This is the way he expressed it:

Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, 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 the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:54d-57 

Paul is talking not only about physical death but also about spiritual death. Spiritual death is the result of sin, which separates us from God.

The Christian faith asserts that, in Christ, God has triumphed. Our claim is that Christ has beaten the great enemy, death!  In Christ, our lives begin to make a difference because we are free to live as those who share in his victory over death. Our lives have significance not in their duration but in their fidelity to the one who has taken the sting out of our dying. 

The follower of Christ holds the good news to that fateful question about death, “We can live again and we can live now in the power of the resurrected Jesus!”

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