Ways to overcome death
The experience of overcoming death is not rare among the saints of the Bible. The Lord delivered David from the claws of the lion and the bear and from the hand of Goliath. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego suffered no harm from the furnace of fire. Paul shook off a deadly serpent into the fire and suffered no harm. These are only a few of many other examples. God’s goal is to lead His children through the experience of overcoming death. It is necessary to triumph over sin, the ego, the world and Satan but the victory is not complete without triumphing in the same way over death. If we want to experience a complete victory, we must destroy this last enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). We will leave an unconquered enemy if we fail to experience the triumph over death.
If we desire to live victoriously on the earth, we must overcome the death that is in the world. Death is in our body. Death has operated in our body ever since the day that we were born. Physical death is only the consummation of a prolonged operation of death that acts within us day by day. It can attack our spirit, denying its life and power and can attack our soul, mutilating its feeling, thoughts and will, and our body, making it weak and sick.
According to Romans 5:17 death does not just exist, but reigns. As long as the kingdom of death exists, the kingdom of life also exists. The apostle Paul says that those who receive abundance of grace will reign in life. However, Christians today concern themselves so much with the problem of sin that they have failed to overcome the result of sin, which is death. Christ died to save us not only from our sins but also from death. The salvation of Christ substituted justice for sin and life for death, because the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed us from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
How can we overcome death in a practical way? We must decide to resist death in the same way that we have resisted sin: by appropriating the victory that Christ has already won for us on the cross. The author of Hebrews 2:14, 15, tells us that the cross is the basis for our victory over the power of death. There are three different paths open to us as Christians to overcome death:
- Trust that we will not die until our work is finished
- Have no fear of death even if it comes, because Christ has removed its sting
- Believe that we will be completely freed from death, raptured at the Lord’s return
Overcome death by the conviction that we must complete our work first
Unless a Christian has full knowledge that the end of his work has arrived and that the Lord no longer requires him to remain, he must, resist death. Jesus resisted death three times, escaping from the midst of those who wanted to kill him, because His time had not yet come. Paul and Peter also resisted death before the time. The patriarchs only died after they attained the fullness of their years.
Overcome death by conquering fear of death
When we speak of overcoming death, we do not mean that our body will never die (1 Corinthians 15:51). Overcoming death does not necessarily mean not going through the grave, because God may require some of us to overcome through the resurrection, just as Jesus did. In passing through death, believers, like Jesus, need not fear it, because we are simply passing from one vessel to another. In the beginning we were just like those who fear death and were subject to slavery (Hebrews 2:15). The Lord Jesus however freed us and therefore we no longer fear.
Overcome death through the rapture
We know that upon the return of the Lord Jesus many will be raptured while still living. This is the last way of overcoming death (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17). The time of the rapture is approaching. If someone wishes to be raptured alive, they should learn here and now how to overcome death. On the cross, the Lord Jesus totally overcame His enemy. Today God wants His church to experience this victory of Christ that will strengthen us against death, preventing it from making any incursion into our bodies. Resist everything that has a disposition toward death. Face sickness, weakness and suffering in this attitude.
Overcome death by avoiding mortal sin
We will now observe specifically what the essence of mortal sin is as mentioned in 1 John 5:16. Doing so, we will know how to stay far away from it, so that our flesh is not corrupted and we do not lose the blessing of being raptured before death. We must strive to complete the work that the Lord designated to us before the end of our lives and then we may pass through the grave, if He tarries. Because of the negligence of many of God’s children in this matter, they have had their lives unnecessarily shortened and have lost their crowns.
The Bible is not clear about what this mortal sin is. From the Bible text, we understand that this sin may vary according to each person. One particular sin may qualify as a mortal sin for some people however, for others it may not be a mortal sin and vice versa.
One of the characteristics of the Kingdom age is that there is will be no more weakness, sickness or death, because we will possess resurrected and redeemed bodies and Satan will have been crushed beneath our feet. The Scriptures teach us that we can experience the powers of the coming age right now in this present age (Hebrews 6:5).