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Don Stewart :: In What Sense Has Jesus Abolished Death?

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Don Stewart
The Bible says that Jesus has abolished, or destroyed, death.

But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10).

Since believers still die, in what sense has He accomplished this?

Spiritual Death

The word death in this verse refers to spiritual, not physical, death. By dying on the cross for the sins of the world and rising from the dead, Jesus achieved victory over spiritual death. Humans no longer need to be separated from God. They now have life and immortality through Christ. He, therefore, abolished spiritual death in the sense that Christians are made spiritually alive through believing in Him. The Bible says.

Therefore we have been buried with Him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. . . . So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. . . . No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:4,11,13).

Physical death has also been defeated by Jesus at His resurrection from the dead. When He came back from the dead, He achieved victory over the powers of death. He said.

I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades (Revelation 1:18).

When those who have believed in Christ are resurrected, then the last aspect of death, physical death, will also be abolished.

The last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:26).

Still Must Die

This, however, does not mean believers are presently exempt from physical death. What is does mean is that physical death has lost its sting. Paul wrote elsewhere.

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Summary

Though death is something that even human being faces, Jesus Christ conquered it by His resurrection from the dead. When a person trusts Christ as Savior, they are no longer spiritually dead. Christ has abolished spiritual death for the believer. Eventually physically death will also be destroyed. Therefore, those who are only born physically will die twice - once physically and once eternally. Those who are born twice, once physically and once spiritually, will die only physically - they will live eternally with the Lord.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.