Miyerkules, Disyembre 17, 2014

Victory Over Death

Victory Over Death

DEATH IS THE great equalizer.  All kinds of people, the rich and the poor, the wise and the fool, the strong and the weak, the healthy and the sick, and the young and the old, succumb to it as it comes in different ways—at times violent and sudden, at other times slow and painful, and at some other times unexpected and mysterious.
     When death comes, nothing in this world—not even all the wealth and all the knowledge one possesses—can prevent it from taking its course.  The Bible shows how helpless man is in the face of death:
     “For man also knows not his time [of death]: as the fishes are taken in an evil net, and as the birds are caught in the snare, so are the sons of men snared in an evil time when [calamity] falls suddenly upon them.” (Eccl. 9:12, Amplified Bible)
     No one knows exactly when death would strike.  It may come and take someone to his grave at any moment.  Apostle Paul vividly illustrates how frequent people face the threat of death:
     “And why should we ourselves be continually risking our lives, facing death hour by hour?  For it is fact that I face death daily; that is as true as my pride in your growth in the Lord” (I Cor. 15:30-31, Living Bible)
     Many things cause death:  sickness, accident, crime, disaster, and old age.  Indeed, death lurks by the wayside every single moment of man’s life.  One moment a person is well and alive; the next, he becomes the object of funeral eulogies and obituaries.  Alas, no man can prevent the onset of death and no one has the power to prevent himself from dying.  This truism is echoed by the Bible thus:
     “As no one has power over the wind to contain it,
    so no one has power over the time of their death.
As no one is discharged in time of war,
    so wickedness will not release those who practice it.” (Eccl. 8:8, New International Version)
     And what more, as if the anticipation of death itself is not enough torment, when man is finally taken to his grave, he cannot take with him anything he has labored for.  As it is written in the Scriptures:
     “We leave this world just as we entered it--with nothing. In spite of all our work there is nothing we can take with us.” (Ecc. 5:15, Today’s English Version)

Appointed by God
     Civilization has gone a long way and knowledge has advanced by leaps and bounds, but up to now, man has not discovered how death can be prevented.  Why do men die?  The Bible enlighten us in this regard:
     “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” (Heb. 9:27, New King James Version)
     It was God who appointed death to man.  But why?  What has man committed?  Apostle Paul said:
     “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12, Ibid.)
     Man has committed sin and has fallen from God’s grace.  As a consequence, God decreed man to die, “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23, Ibid.).  But the cessation of breath is not enough payment.  The Bible speaks of the second death which will be meted out to the sinners on Judgment Day.  In the Book of Revelation, this is written:
     “ But the cowardly, unbelieving,u abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8, Ibid.)
     There is a greater problem awaiting man on the day of Judgment:  the second death or eternal punishment in the lake of fire.  Just as the first death is inevitable to man inasmuch as it is appointed by God, and so is the day of Judgment—we all have to account for the things we have done.  The Bible says:
     “For all of us must appear before Christ, to be judged by him. Each one will receive what he deserves, according to everything he has done, good or bad, in his bodily life.” (II Cor. 5:10, TEV)
     A new creation
     Death can be conquered only by our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior.  Apostle Paul enlightens us:
     “But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (II Tim. 1:10, NIV)
     Christ has destroyed death by bringing life and immortality to man.  Therefore, man needs Christ to be saved from the clutches of death.  But how will He save man from the power of death?  In Paul’s epistle to Titus, this is written:
     “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.(Titus 3:4-7, Ibid.)
     For man to benefit from the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, he must undergo rebirth and renewal as taught by the apostles to be washed or cleansed of his sins and have hope for eternal life.  Apostle Paul explains further which rebirth or renewal is:
     “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (II Cor. 5:17, NKJV)
     To undergo renewal or to be reborn is to become a new creation; to become a new creation, one must be in Christ.  Apostle Paul explains how one can become a new creation in Christ:
     “Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.” (Eph. 2:15, Ibid.)
     From the two, a new man was created in Christ.  Who are these two that constitute the one new man?  They are the Lord Jesus Christ as head and the Church as the body.  The Bible says:
     “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (Col. 1:18, Ibid.)
     Hence, as Christ and His Church constitute the new man, members of this Church are the ones in Christ.  As testified to by Apostle Paul, this Church, which the Lord purchased with His precious blood, is the Church of Christ:
     “Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.” (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation)
     Christ died for the sins of those in His Church; hence, they are not to be held accountable for their sins anymore.  The members of this Church have been cleansed of their “consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!.” (Heb. 9:14, NIV).  They have become a new creation and as such can now rightfully serve God.
     Take note that it is through this new creation or the one new man that enmity is abolished and peace is established.  Sin has alienated man from God and he has become His enemy; but through the precious blood of the Lord with which he purchased the Church, man is reconciled and has attained peace with God.  The Bible records this:
      “And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” (Col. 1:20-22, Ibid.)
     Thus, the members of the Church of Christ, having been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, are the ones reconciled to God.  They are no longer considered dead before God and, hence, are saved from the power of death.

Victory over death
     Having attained peace with God, members of the Church of Christ are freed from punishment which is death due to sin.  This is precisely the assurance of our Lord Jesus Christ when He declared the founding of His Church:
     “ And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it.” (Mt. 16:18, TEV)
     Death has no power over the Church built by our Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus, those who want to be saved from death must be in this Church.  If they die they would be resurrected to everlasting life.  Apostle Paul relates in the following passage how death will be finally conquered by the Church of Christ members:
     “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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 incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. ” (I Cor. 15:51-54, NKJV)

Pamphlets/Pasugo God’s Message/Novemver 2001/Pages 21-22

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