April 18– LD 16, Day 3: Death Translated to Victory
Thursday the 18th of April
in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations
I Corinthians 15:55 - “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
We live in the midst of death. Every day we are reminded of the horror of death by the obituaries in the newspaper. Our loved ones are taken by death. Sometimes death swallows them quickly, at other times more slowly. Where is our comfort in the midst of death? If Jesus died and took away our sins, why must we still face death? Is not the punishment of sin gone?
Christ has transformed death. Death for us is not payment for the penalty of sin. Christ paid that penalty. Death is not satisfaction for the righteousness of the law. Jesus satisfied the demands of righteousness. Death is not the expression of God’s wrath. Jesus bore that wrath and cast it away. What then is our death?
Our death is first of all the abolishing of sin. God begins the process of sanctification at the moment we are regenerated. That process is slow and difficult. A life-long battle against sin results in only a small beginning of that new obedience. God uses many means in our lives to break the power of many besetting sins, but we cannot get rid of them in this life. Death is the servant of God to abolish the sins of His people.
But, death is more! It is secondly a passage to eternal life. He that believes in Christ shall never die. God takes our earthly life so that we may go into the Father’s house of many mansions. We sing from Psalm 17 (PRC Psalter):
When I in righteousness at last Thy glorious face shall see,
When all the weary night is past, and I awake with Thee
To view the glories that abide, then, then I shall be satisfied.