Death and Dying

Whether…the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours – 1 Corinthians 3:22

What a strange thing to say. How can Paul claim with a straight face that everything—even death—has been given to God’s people and belongs to them?

It certainly does not feel as though the world belongs to us, that our present life is completely under our control, or that the future is ours for the taking. Least of all, death does not ever feel to be mastered or owned or tamed; more than anything else, death reminds us of just how frail we are and what little power we have over our surroundings. 

And yet Paul claims that they are all yours, if you are Christ’s (3:23). Even death has been made a servant to the people of God. How can this be?

The truth is that we, in ourselves, do not have autonomous control over our life or our death; but the truth is also that Christ has—through his death and resurrection—brought even our greatest enemies into subjection and made them to serve us for our good. 

Death, for instance, has been subdued; instead of acting as the jaws of fate to consume us, it has now become the door of salvation to renew us. Whereas death was once to be greatly feared, as the result of sin entering into the world, it is now made an occasion for rejoicing, as the vehicle that brings us into the presence and likeness of Christ.

Life, through Christ, is yours, dear believer. And, yes, even death is yours, to serve you for your good and for God’s glory. Rejoice today, then, in the possessions that are yours in Christ.