Tag Archive: death


All Saints Weekly Devotional

Volume 1 Number 35

October 4, 2012

Life in Death

From Pastor Bordwine

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

(1 Corinthians 15:55)

 We know only too well that life is full of challenges and disappointments. And on occasion, we learn that life includes painful tragedies. Regardless of our experiences, we have to admit that we will never be truly at ease until we leave this world. Only then will we no longer be subject to this world’s assaults.

It’s true that we enjoy a great amount of happiness in this life, but we never really escape the threats associated with an environment that has been thoroughly corrupted by sin. The most agonizing of our trials cause us to ponder a multitude of questions. Many of them are answered in God’s revelation and others seem to have no answer at the present time. This is certainly the case when the fiercest of incidents occur. I am referring, of course, to death. Sometimes death comes with a warning, such as a prolonged illness. At other times, death strikes unexpectedly. This latter kind of experience is the most shocking and upsetting.

A couple of days ago, my wife’s sister committed suicide. News of this act stunned us and our grief was immediate. This was one of those onslaughts from which we don’t recover—not in this life. For the believer, receiving news like this is heartbreaking, but it is not necessarily the end.

From the beginning of our history, mankind has been subject to death, which is the chief weapon of our adversary and by which he has tormented those made in the image of God. Therefore, when death strikes, it appears to be a victory for the devil.

While describing the nature of Christ’s earthly ministry, however, the writer of the book of Hebrews states that Jesus shared in our flesh and blood in order to serve as our Representative before God’s bar of justice. As the God-Man, Jesus received the penalty that was due to us. He died in our place. (cf. Heb. 2:14, 15)

The justice of God was satisfied when Jesus paid what we owed with His own life. But that wasn’t the end of His mission. To demonstrate that death no longer bound us, Jesus rose from the dead and this act declared that death was dead. In Christ, even death does not prevail against us.

In this same passage, the writer observes that Jesus became a Man so that “He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” The defeat of death was long anticipated by the people of God. We were promised that one day the Savior would come and free us from death’s dominion. And so it has come to pass. Death remains active, but we no longer fear it. Life awaits us on the other side of the grave.

As painful as it was for us to hear about our loved one’s death and as unsettling as the circumstances were, we have not been left without comfort, nor have we been deprived of hope. Because of our Savior’s sacrifice, death is now powerless. It can never gain the victory over us. Jesus gives us never-ending life in death, His death. Therefore, with glad hearts we look forward to that Great Day when the redeemed of God will be raised to everlasting glory. And then, Paul’s words, quoted above, will ring throughout creation: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

Advertisements

The last moments of Muammar Qaddafi’s life were horrifying. A choppy cell phone video shows him being dragged along by rebels who reportedly found him hiding in a drainage pipe. Qaddafi had obviously been injured multiple times, either from the attack on his convoy that had occurred only minutes before or by the crowd itself. Although a murderous tyrant himself, Qaddafi had a change of heart as his demise appeared imminent. He was not the first man to demonstrate a transformation of character at the time of death.

During his 42 year reign, Qaddafi brutalized his own people and had a hand in numerous terrorist operations. He was a man who routinely violated the principles of the religion he professed. But, during those last moments, Qaddafi appealed to his captors on the basis of Islamic teaching. He reportedly asked them: “Do you know what is right or wrong?” His words failed to have an impact on the violent mob. Then Qaddafi asserted, “What you are doing is forbidden in Islamic law.” This time, one of the fighters replied: “Shut up, you dog.”

You have to wonder how many times victims of Qaddafi’s ruthless rule pleaded for mercy and said something similar. You also might wonder if any of those voices echoed in Qaddafi’s mind during those last minutes; or perhaps he recalled the faces of those he caused to be murdered. Whatever the case, the irony is plain. Here is a man who had little regard for any law but his own for most of his life. Just before death, however, the same man appealed to the law of Islam in an attempt to stop the rebels from doing what he had done by delegation time and time again.

All around us every day the teachings of the Bible are verified. In Qaddafi’s case, Proverbs 1:19 comes to mind. After warning his son to stay away from wicked companions because, ultimately, they destroy themselves, Solomon says: “So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; it takes away the life of its possessors.” Qaddafi wished to escape the end that frequently comes for tyrants. The mercy denied to so many sufferers by this man’s regime was denied to him (cf. James 2:3).

Qaddafi’s body is on display in a commercial freezer in a meat store in Libya’s third largest city, Misrata. Although he was once feared throughout the nation, Qaddafi’s bloodied corpse has become a gruesome tourist attraction.