For all things are yours; whether . . . life or death. . . (1 Cor. 3.21-23).
DEATH IS YOURS
“For all things are yours; whether . . . life, or death,. . .” (1 Cor. 3.21-23).
Oh death, how bitter is the remembrance of you to a man who is at rest in his possessions; to the man who has nothing to vex him and who has prosperity in all things! Oh death, how sweet is the remembrance of you to a man who is alive to God and dead to the world; who longs to be absent from the body and present with the Lord; who aches to see the glory of Jesus Christ and reign with Him!
Believer, here is a precious legacy left you by the Lord: a covenant-gift from the God of your salvation: “Death is yours.” He is your conquered enemy; he is your faithful friend.
(1) Death is your conquered enemy. You need not fear him. He has neither strength nor sting. Christ, the victorious captain of your salvation has disarmed him of both. He can neither destroy, nor wound your soul. Yes, Christ “hath abolished death” (2 Tim. 1.10). There is no substance in your enemy. He is changed into a shadow. It is not the enemy death which seizes a believer, but the shadow or emblem of it, sleep. Weary soul, tired out with the burden of sin, lusts, corruptions, afflictions, accusations, temptations &c. Is sleep an enemy to you? Do you dread sleep? Are you afraid of rest? What! Fear to fall asleep in Jesus, to awake in His presence, to be satisfied with perfect likeness to Him, and eternally enjoy Him? “0 fools, and slow of heart to believe” the victory of Christ over death! And you too, my soul, take the rebuke to yourself, and be ashamed of your folly. “But I am not afraid of death, only of dying”. Why be afraid of sleeping? “What of the unsupportable pains of the body in that hour?” Who told you they are unsupportable? How many have sweetly sung victory in death? Says one, “Is this dying? It is sweet; it is pleasant.” “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, . . . thou art with me.” That is the claim of faith on the warrant of the Lord: “When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee” (Is. 43.1). The presence of the Saviour will beguile all your pains, and fill your soul with comfort.
(2) Death is your faithful friend. Have you not found sleep to be so to your weary body? Just so, and no more, is death to your weary soul. It will at once deliver you from all your burdens and sorrows, and introduce you into joys unspeakable, and full of glory. Death is that, and no more, to the soul, than what God calls it in His word, and faith makes it to the heart. If you do really and truly believe that death is swallowed up in the victory of Christ; if you firmly believe His precious blood has atoned for sin, and His righteous life has fulfilled the law, you may undauntedly sing, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
William Mason (1719-1791)