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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 11:54 pm | Fair 53º

 
 
 
 
Faith

D.C. Collier: Physical Death Is Inevitable, Spiritual Death Is a Choice

The Bible describes mankind as “those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”1 Our universal fear of death is not an accident. It’s in our DNA.

Most thinking people sense that there is something wrong with this world in general, and something “out of joint” spiritually with us individually. We tend to “whistle through the graveyard” of earthly life, not sure what lies beyond. Fear of death is a cruel taskmaster and holds billions of people in bondage all their lives.

I can identify. As one who is in a life-and-death struggle with cancer, I’m familiar with that dull gut-level uncertainty about what lies ahead.

Just a few days ago, as I was “sucked through” a giant PET scanner at USC Health Sciences and injected with a radioactive proton cocktail, I couldn’t help but notice that the scanner tunnel resembled a high-tech coffin. I got over it — but it was a lonely, confining moment.

One of the greatest comforts of my Christian faith is that I need never fear death again. In a sense, through Jesus Christ, I’ve gotten spiritual death over with in advance. Yes, while the process of physical death is unpleasant, the matter of spiritual life is settled once and for all, thank heaven.

Let me explain ...

God’s Spiritual Plan Is Available to All

“Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by His death. By embracing death, taking it into Himself, He destroyed the Devil’s hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.”2

Through his death on the cross, Jesus broke the Devil’s death grip and made it possible for believers to escape and run to God. Of course, those who choose to keep their “options open” spiritually by ignoring Christ’s salvation will remain in the Serpent’s grip.

So how did God pull off this rescue? Scripture makes this astounding claim: Believers in Christ are considered dead to sin and alive to God.

Read this:

“Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we, too, might walk in newness of life ... knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin ... Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”3

It’s as though Jesus’ death on the cross was our death, His burial was our burial, and His resurrection was our resurrection as well. Somehow, in the genius of God’s redemptive plan, He incorporated us into the death of His perfect Son, so that we would not have to suffer the inevitable eternal consequences of dying apart from Him. It amounts to an eternal “death insurance policy” bought and paid for in advance by the blood of our Substitute!

“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’”4

Nothing More to Fear

When it comes to hereafter, I’ve always been like Wile E. Coyote — ears down, eyes bulging, dread written all over my face. That’s because I’ve never actually died before.

But guess what? Among the untold billions of people who have ever lived across the span of human history, there has been only one Man who verifiably died and came back to talk about it: Jesus Christ. In fact, He predicted His death and subsequent resurrection beforehand.

How About You?

Still a “Doubting Thomas” about Christ’s claims of supernatural power over death? Consider this:

“Eight days later, His disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, ‘Peace to you.’ Then He focused His attention on Thomas. ‘Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.’ Thomas said, ‘My Master! My God!’ Jesus said, ‘So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.’”5

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

1. Hebrews 2:15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

2. Hebrews 2:14-15 The Message (MSG)

3. Romans 6:3-11 NASB

4. 1 Corinthians 15:54-56 NASB

5. John 20:26-29 MSG

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