Read 1 Corinthians 15:54-57
54 So when the perishable is lost in the imperishable, the mortal lost in the immortal, this saying will come true: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ ‘O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’
55-57 It is sin which gives death its power, and it is the Law which gives sin its strength. All thanks to God, then, who gives us the victory over these things through our Lord Jesus Christ! (JBP)
A story has been told of a keeper at a small zoo in the USA. One morning he went to clean the enclosure of a wildcat. The animal hissed at him and looked threateningly at him, but the keeper went about his work calmly and finally left the enclosure. An onlooker spoke to him about how brave he was going into that confined space with such a fierce creature. The keeper replied that no bravery was involved. The wildcat was old and frail and actually had no teeth. He could make lots of threatening noises but not do any serious harm.
Which is a bit like the way Christians view death. We don’t minimise its sorrow or deny the fact that it leaves broken hearts behind. But we don’t see it as the final enemy which has the power to wipe us out. We don’t see it as something to cause terror in us.
The reason being is that Jesus has removed what we might call the spiritual aspect of death. We do die, but those who trust in Christ are united to him and so just as he rose from death so too do we. Our guilt resulting from our rebellion against God has been dealt with so we need no longer suffer eternal estrangement from God. Jesus’ perfect obedience covers our all too imperfect obedience.
We die and yet we live. Death is like that toothless wildcat. It can’t ultimately kill us. Death for the Christian is no longer fatal.