“I say to you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him.” (Luke 12:4-6)

Death had become a subject of fear in the circle of many faithful Believers. It seems as though our minds have been captivated by fearful images, which in many ways are real because of the reality of the futility of this present age; yet, they are far removed from the victorious work of the cross.

Death is the natural consequence of sin, it is indeed the penalty of sin, (Rom 5:12; Rom 6:23). It was precisely why the Father, the Eternal Judge, required a living sacrifice of an Unblemished Man to satisfy the just penalty of “a life for a life” in His eternal Court of Law, (Lev 17:11). Christ Jesus died so that death would have no power any longer over those who choose to believe in Him. The apostle Paul states, ‘Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death He died He died to sin, once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God,’ (Rom 6:8-10).

Our water baptism is a testimony that we have died with Christ to sin, and have been raised up by His Spirit into a new life, (Rom 6:3-7). Although our bodies may still be subjected to physical death, we should not consider death our master! If we have united ourselves in Christ Jesus’ death, our spiritual man is made alive by His Spirit. Paul clarifies this essential truth, ‘And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness’ (Rom 8:10), ‘For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death,’ (Rom 8:2).

The Hebrew author makes a profound statement, saying, ‘inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,’ (Heb 9:27). We have to conclude that every man is subjected to physical death. YET, we cannot deny the victory of Christ’s resurrection, for in rising again on the third day, He conquered DEATH. Messiah declared, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes in Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come to judgment, but has passed out of death to life,’ (John 5:24). In fact, He makes a much stronger statement, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death,’ (John 8:51).

So how are we to make sense of these phenomenal truths? Christ Jesus our LORD established victory over death through His resurrection from the grave! Even though we might die once in our mortal bodies, His victory over death has already secured eternal life for the inner person of everyone who believes in His death and resurrection. Those who die in Christ Jesus are alive! No matter how death meets us here on earth, those who die in Christ Jesus will “be clothed with a dwelling from heaven,” and “shall not be found naked,” (2 Cor 4:16-18; 2 Cor 5:1-5).

We have clear evidence that God is a God of the living and not of the dead, (Mat 12:27). Heavenly Jerusalem is described by the author of Hebrews as follows, ‘But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and the church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,’ (Heb 12:22-23). Also, the apostle John’s vision of those who are standing before the throne of God, those who have come out of the great tribulation, is a vision of hope, and not defeat, for ‘They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes,’ (Rev 7:16-17).

So we can conclude that it is appointed for man to die once before Judgment Day; yet, those who have identified with Christ Jesus in His death and resurrection have passed from death to life, even if they die! And so, the spirits of righteous men made perfect are enrolled in heaven, where they await the glorious day of their resurrection – the salvation of their bodies, (1 Thes 4:13-18; Zech 14:5-9; Rev 19:11-16). 

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