Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! Lately, we’ve been looking at the doctrine of the resurrection. I stated that this came after doing the funeral service of my grandmother. We’ve talked a lot about what the doctrine is, but what does the doctrine mean?
Let’s look again at 1 Cor. 15 and go to verse 55.
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
We can say that this is beautiful poetry and it likely is, but there is something else going on here. Paul is doing what your mother told you to not do. (However, it doesn’t stop me from doing it in gaming battles with my friends.) He’s trash-talking death. He’s making fun of it.
Why is he doing this? This is the difference that resurrection makes and again, I return you to my funeral message.
When my grandmother died, the story did not end there if the resurrection is true. The story has for us a little interruption. For her, it is going on now, although that is not going on bodily and that is something we must keep in mind. We cannot say my grandmother is living in a new and glorified body now. That is promised at the final resurrection at the physical return of Christ.
Death does not have the last laugh. Rather than separating us from God forever, death actually brings us closer to God when we are in Christ. Since Christ is the one who conquered death, we by being found in Him take part in that victory as well. For a parallel, when a sporting team wins an event like the World Series or the Super Bowl, the whole town celebrates as if every person in the town played in the game and won it. They consider themselves the winners because those who were their representatives as it were, won.
When death comes, we should indeed mourn that the loved one has passed, just as I mourned the death of my grandmother, but we are not to mourn like those who have no hope, as 1 Thess. 4 says. We do not say we do not ever see them again. We say “Until we meet again.”
Let us celebrate the life of the one who lived as surely they would want us to do such. What we mourn is not that the person has died per se. We mourn in no way for the person. We mourn for the current end to our interaction with that person. After all, what have we to feel sorry for someone who is in the presence of God at this time? What we are saddened for is that this person was so special to us and we can no longer interact with them. (Indeed, I still see my grandmother on my phone number list and sometimes wish I could talk to her about what’s going on in my life.)
Also, the closer you are to the person, the more you will mourn. Our sadness when the loved one dies is that we are grieving what we have lost and as much as we have a relationship with that person, we mourn. Note also that part of this will be based on our own temperament and we do all mourn in different ways.
My grandmother’s life was not a waste, just as the life of your loved one in Christ, but if someone wants to treat it like a waste, do not live your life better in any way. Do not have an appreciation for the good things in life that they would want you to have. Do not seek to live a more holy life as you celebrate the good life that this person lived. Do not change your life in any way. If you do not do that, then while that person’s life was not a waste, you will be treating it as a waste.
Mourn, but also celebrate. Death is conquered. The story is not over. Rejoice in that. Just as I shall see my grandmother again someday, you shall see your loved one again someday, and that meeting will never end.