“What is mortal may be swallowed up by life”? Isn’t being in our mortal body life? Well, yes, but much like being in the womb is life, also. Moreover, inhabiting this physical body is a type of womb, too. C.S Lewis termed physical life “The Shadowlands”. When comparing it to full life, that’s a good term for it…
Everybody born of woman knows we all have a standing appointment from the day of our physical birth. It is an appointment with God. We generally refer to it as death. Christ lovers and Christ haters alike have this appointment; however with different results. For the sake of brevity I speak to the lovers of the Savior, the child of God in Christ.
As being one closer to the end than the beginning, in terms of years logged on earth, I have done much thinking about the third phase of life and the transition thereof. With thirty plus years of sitting at the Saviors knee and gleaning the scriptures and their meaning, how they apply and are woven together. And even as I do that today, ever learning anew, that I may again be reminded how little I really do know, I no longer call death the thing we refer to as death. That transition from primary physical existence to spiritual primacy in the presence of the Savior.
The Savior says “fear not” many times throughout the Bible. In fact, He repeats it so often it begins to look to me like He’s trying to convince a mentally challenged child of a basic fact. But He’s not – even more challenging – He’s speaking to me…and you.
Now, when the Lord says “fear not” he’s not trying to trick us, and He’s not telling us to deny an emotion He instilled in us at birth to protect ourselves from physical harm. So there must be another reason.
Might that reason be we have no need of fear when He’s present? I mean really! No need of fear, which is one of humanity’s prevailing emotions to alternating greater and lesser degrees through life! And fear of death being at the very top! But yet even about death He says “fear not”. He speaks crazy talk doesn’t He?! Nope. He speaks of what He knows. He’s been there – He’s conquered it. And He knows that fear and death are mere shadows.
I don’t know about you, but it helps me boatloads with my fears to know Jesus, the King of Creation knows, by omniscience and by experience, my frailties and what I should and should not fear. And He says I need not fear death. Not because I’m not going to pass through it physically, but because He’s already experienced it and knows I have nothing to fear from the encounter. In fact He promises to accompany me through it while I do it. And I know, by knowledge and experience, that when He promises anything it’s as good as accomplished and done. And another great thing – we only have to go through it once.
“As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…” Heb. 9:27(NKJV)
As there is a “second death” for some (see Rev. 2:11, Rev. 20:6, 14) there is a “second life” also for those found in Christ – called the resurrection – the fullness of salvation – the fulfillment of life.
“but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:10
Ah, the fulfillment of life! Not the end of life. Bringing life to its fully blossomed glory. It is that which swallows up mortality and all its travails. And death’s power and pride is brought to lowly humiliation as it goes down in defeat.