Death has never been a pleasant experience, nor was it ever meant to be. Scripture teaches us that death is the result of sin. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” (Romans 5:12)
That one man whom scripture speaks of was Adam. Adam sinned and when he did, he not only brought sin into the world, he also brought the consequences of sin which is death. (see Romans 6:23) But there is another side to the story. “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17) Just as Adam brought sin and death into the world, Jesus came to bring us life and forgiveness.
When we view death from an earthly perspective, our hearts are saddened. Death seems like a total loss to us. Yet scripture teaches us that death for the believer is gain. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) How can death be gain?
There is the gain of being escorted into the presence of Jesus. “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise”, Jesus promised the repentant thief. (see Luke 23:43) There is also the gain of a new body. Scripture teaches us that when a believer dies, their soul goes to be with the Lord. But what happens to their body? Often it is buried in the ground. Is that the end of their body? According to scripture, one day Jesus is going to return and at that time He is going to resurrect the believer’s body from the ground and reunite it with their soul. However, He is not going to present them with a body that is still susceptible to disease, death and decay. Christ is going to change the body and transform it into a body like His own. (see 1 Corinthians 15:42-44; 1 John 3:2)
But there is yet another gain awaiting those who die in Christ. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:1-2) There is also the gain of living forever in eternal glory.
We sorrow when a loved one dies, yet if they knew Christ as their Savior, we should not sorrow as those who have no hope. (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13) Our hope is the assurance that they are now with Jesus and that one day we are going to be reunited with them and together we are going to spend eternity in glory.