From Death to Life

1 John 3:14

Death is an inescapable fact. Euripides the poet called death “the debt we all must pay.” George Bernard Shaw wryly wrote, “The statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of one people die.” Death is the most democratic of all experiences.

No matter how we diet, how much we exercise, how many vitamins or health foods we eat, how low our cholesterol, some day, some way, we will die. The invincible reaper knocks ultimately at every door.

At some point each of us has felt the trauma of death. And in the poignant words of Tennyson, we have “a longing for the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is stilled.”

God deals seriously with the topic of death. We find the word “die” or its equivalent more than 1,300 times in the Bible. It tells us that sin brought death into the world, but that is not its last word on the subject.

At Easter we celebrate our Lord’s victory over death. His triumph over the grave vaporized all doubts among the believers in His day. The seismic significance of what took place on Easter is the epicenter of our faith. It is not a belief that grew up within the Church; it is the belief around which the Church itself grew up, and the “given” upon which its faith was based.

The resurrection forever negates the contrary arguments on eternal life—Feuerbach’s “wishful projection,” Marx’s “consolation of the oppressed,” Nietzsche’s denial of the eternal and Freud’s illusion theory.

In the radiant light of the resurrection, death becomes not a destruction but a metamorphosis, not a diminishing but a finishing. It is not a postscript or an appendix to our book of life, but rather reveals life on earth as merely the preface, with life in heaven as the full text—a text without end.

“We know that we have passed from death to life” (1 John 3:14). These words reverse the usual order of things. Conventional thinking says that we pass from life unto death. But John, who had heard the immortal words and witnessed the mighty life of the One who is the resurrection and the life, declares that the believer goes “from death to life.”

The resurrection of Christ transformed the crucifixion into a coronation. And the truth that we affirm is that we have passed from death to life!

Henry Gariepy, The War Cry

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