“For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).”
General Patton on Memorial Day in Nuremberg 1945
At our house, Mother’s Day is all about death. My wife loves flowers, which means seeds go into the ground to die with the hope that something new pops up beautiful and alive. It’s a good “death” for the seeds and my garden-savvy wife looks forward to caring for some gorgeous flowers.
First Corinthians 15 is the Bible’s “gardening chapter.” It’s also about planting seeds (death), hoping a new life results (resurrection). Do you see your death that way, as a good thing? According to the Bible, death can be a great event, a miraculous change to be anticipated with intense joy, just as we do with our Mother’s Day flowers.
Sgt Meeks, his friend and valet, was the only black pallbearer at Patton’s funeral
Patton knew death, but he didn’t fear it and wisely asked, “Did you ever stop to think that death may be more exciting than life?” The Apostle Paul agreed and said, “…to die is gain.” For a genuine believer, death is a friend that brings us eyeball to eyeball with Jesus Christ! That’s mighty good news, if you’ve trusted Christ for your salvation.
But if your sin remains, then you should fear death and the coming judgment (and don’t kid yourself and think you’re not that bad. If you sin just three times a day and live 70 years, that’s over 76,000 sins! A just God cannot be righteous and ignore that.)
Those 76,000 transgressions are a moot point, however, because we’re all born with a sin disease that’s fatal. Paul said, “…by a man came death…as in Adam all die.” Bob Dylan agreed and wrote, “I was blinded by the Devil, born already ruined, stone cold dead as I stepped out of the womb.” If you’re a human being, then you’re contaminated by heredity with Adam’s sin. Sin is fatal and death is certain (Romans 6:23).
Patton with his flowery wife Beatrice and their son
Despite that, death can be a friend…if you repent and believe. The litmus test of your belief is your complete assurance when death arrives, as Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church:
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord
Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
There are two types of people facing death, those who grieve with hope and those who grieve without it. For a genuine Christian, it’s not a loss at all. It’s a tremendous gain to pop up again beautiful and alive with Christ.
I pray you’ll choose to grieve with hope and accept Christ.