Vision for Death

2Timothy 4:8 – At last the champion’s wreath that is awarded for righteousness is waiting for me. The Lord, who is the righteous judge, is going to give it to me on that day. He’s giving it not only to me but also to all those who have set their hearts on waiting for his appearance. (CEB)

William Morris said, “Death have we hated, knowing not what it meant.” Bacon exclaims, “Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark.” Hamlet expresses human fear when he says, “That dread of something after death.” Shakespeare, in Measure for Measure, makes Claudio say: “Death is a fearful thing!” Robert Burns laments, “But oh! Fell deaths untimely frost that nipt my flower so early!” And even some of the Hebrew Scriptures have accounts of hopelessness when it comes to that great stone of death (Eccl. 3:19-21). .

In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul speaks of his own mortality. Sensing that he would not be freed from his second Roman imprisonment, Paul casts a Vision for Death with Timothy. He expresses how he is already being poured out like a sacrifice to God (2Tim. 4:6). And, naturally, death is the end result of sacrifice. Paul understands his impending death as the completion of the sufferings of Christ for the faith of His churches (Col. 1:24; Phil 2:17-18). He explains, literally, that he has “agonized the good agony, finished the race, and held a firm grasp on faith” (2Tim. 4:7; Col. 1:29; Phil. 1:27, 30). Then Paul states, literally, that, “what remains for me is a reserved victors crown of right-standing-with-God, which the Lord – the one in right-standing with Himself – will award to me when we walk in the cool of the day; but also to everyone who has God-loved humanity as God loved humanity when He appeared (and will appear, again) in Christ.”

Nearly 2,000 years ago the great stone of death was forever removed by the Resurrection Life of Jesus Christ. Death as a dead-end has been invalidated. Death as the end of life has been proved inaccurate. The notion that for this life only have we been made has been found untrue. As birth was a passing from one form of life into another, so death is simply another passing from one form of life into the final form. Death has been swallowed up by a victory (Is. 25:8; 1Cor. 15:54). Where is your victory, death? Where is your sting, death? (Hos. 13:14; 1Cor. 15:55-56) Live well. Die well. Live well, again!


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