27th December 2011

Death Is All We Can Know

“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
1 Corinthians 15:55 (NKJV)

As a Leeds United supporter, from the days when they were a great team, I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the death (apparently by his own hand) of Gary Speed. He appeared to have every reason to live. Yet something caused him to see no hope for the future, no reason to continue to live.

The truth is that hope is the one thing we all have, whether we believe it or not. The hope that underpins the Christian life is the resurrection. Everything in the gospel points to the hope of the resurrection, being raised from the dead to a new life with a new body—a body that is immortal, that can never die again.

The good news is that God has already provided this hope for everyone but if we don’t believe, we will not gain the benefit of it here and now. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

When the scripture speaks of the hope we have in Jesus, it is not a gamble like the hope attached to, say, buying a lottery ticket. That hope is around 14 million to one against—some hope! But the hope of scripture is certain. So why is it still hope? Simply because we have not yet seen it. This hope is joined at the hip with faith. These two qualities support one another.

In this life we will face all kinds of difficulties, disappointments, discouragement, failure and heart aches as well as joy and happiness, success and encouragement. A veritable mixed bag. Sometimes the downs can seem too much to handle but the hope of God’s purpose and gifts for us in the future can be a great source of strength enabling us to face the present with a confidence that is not based on what we see in the around and about.

Death is all we can know, so far, of the resurrection, but let’s take courage and rejoice in this hope of the resurrection when there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there will be no more pain, for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21:4).

Father in heaven, thank you for the hope that we have through Jesus Christ in the resurrection to life eternal and to share in the divine nature with you forever.

Study by David Stirk

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