Dear Friends,

The Bible presents death as separation: physical death is the separation of the soul from the body, and spiritual death is the separation of the soul from God.

Death is the result of sin. “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom 3:23). The whole world is subject to death, because all have sinned. “By one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12). After Creation, the Lord warned Adam that the penalty for disobedience would be death, “you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). When Adam disobeyed, he experienced immediate spiritual death, which caused him to hide “from Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Gen 3:8). Later, Adam experienced physical death (Gen. 5:5).

On the cross, Jesus also experienced physical death (Mat. 27:50). The difference is that Adam died because he was a sinner, and Jesus, who had never sinned, chose to die as a substitute for sinners (Heb. 2:9). Jesus then showed His power over death and sin by rising from the dead on the third day (Mat. 28; Rev. 1:18). Because of Christ, death is a defeated foe. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (I Cor. 15:55).

For the unsaved, death brings to an end the opportunity to accept God’s gracious free offer of salvation. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). For the saved, death ushers us into the presence of Christ: “To be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8). So real is the promise of the believer’s resurrection that the physical death of a Christian is called “sleep” (1 Cor. 15:51).

Sleep is temporary not permanent.  As believers we should consider everything from the perspective of eternity. An eternity of life!  That’s why Paul says in 1 Thess. 4:13-18 that we should not be “uninformed” about what happens to those who fall asleep, who die here on earth.  Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, their death, our death, is not permanent but temporary like sleep. When Jesus comes again, He will bring our loved ones who died trusting in Christ alone with Him!  We will be caught up into the air with them.  What a glorious reunion that will be!  He finishes by saying we should “encourage each other with these words.”

Physical death is a sad thing for those loved ones left behind.  I can surely attest to that!  However, we can be encouraged with the hope that we will not be separated from those we love for all eternity if they trusted in Christ alone as their Savior.  We look forward to that time when “there shall be no more death” (Rev. 21:4).

Only by Grace!

Pastor Mike