Paul expounded on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the dead in Christ. Paul referred to Jesus being raised from the dead and appearing to the disciples. He made reference to the dead in Christ as having fallen asleep. He explained that death came through Adam and life through Jesus Christ. “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:21). Jesus destroyed all rule, authority and power and the last enemy to be destroyed was death.
Paul made reference to death and burial like that of seed time and harvest. “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies” (1 Corinthians 15:36). As such a physical death gives way to a spiritual resurrection from the dead. When we die our physical man perish, but our spiritual body is imperishable. Our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. When the trumpet of God sounds, the dead in Christ will arise first. The dead will be raised in an immortal body and those who are alive will also be changed.
Death will be swallowed up in victory through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Paul has also said that, “we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Paul also spoke of his dilemma between being alive to advance the gospel or to die to be with Christ. Paul’s mortality was an ever present reality as he spent his time in prison. What was certain was that Paul did not fear death. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”(Philippians 1:21).
Paul’s conversations about death was with the conviction that he had a choice in the matter. Like Jesus who said, he had the power to lay down his life and to take it up again (John 10:18). Moreover, there were many times when the Jews wanted to kill Jesus, but his hour had not come. As such, you cannot die until your purpose is accomplished on this earth. When we do die, we sleep in eternal rest until we arise and are transformed into his image. We don’t lose anything when we die, but we gain access to eternal life.
We do not fear death, because the devil does not have the authority to kill us before our appointed time. We pray against the untimely death of our loved ones and declare that we will live to fulfil our God given purpose. Like Paul, when our time on this earth is accomplished we will say; “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).