This past weekend we celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is always a good reminder of the sacrifice that He made for us that we might be saved, restored to the Father, and inherit eternal life. This year, I was drawn to the theme of victory over death.
After the crucifixion, it appeared that the devil and death were victorious over Jesus. But He emerged from the tomb in glory and power, holding the keys of hell and death. Because of this, our salvation ultimately includes victory over death as well. Death will not have the final word for those who are in Christ!
What does this victory over death include?
1. Salvation from spiritual death
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins…But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”
-Ephesians 2:1, 4-5
Before coming to Christ, we are spiritually dead. We are disconnected from God, who is the source of life, because of our sins. But when we repent and trust in Jesus for our salvation, our spirit is raised from the dead and we are vitally connected to God. The penalty of sin—which is death—is lifted off of our shoulders and we receive eternal life.
2. Release from the fear of death
“…that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
Since Jesus was victorious over death, we do not need to be afraid of dying. Our life and future is in God’s hands and we can trust Him with our destiny. For believers, death is simply a transition into eternal life. Though there is temptation to fear, we can rest in what Christ has done and face both life and death with confidence and courage.
3. The promise of a resurrected body
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.”
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
-1 Corinthians 15:54-55
Jesus’ death and resurrection is called the “firstfruits” of those who will be resurrected with a new incorruptible body. (See 1 Corinthians 15:20-26 for more on this). We will live forever in a new body that can never corrode or weaken. This is an incredible promise for us to look forward to.
Though death is a reality in this fallen world, in the end, death is “swallowed up in victory.” Because we are in Christ, death has lost its sting!