Do you believe in life after death? If your answer is “yes,” then you agree with 72% of Americans.
Although this widely-held belief in an afterlife includes a wide range of unbiblical ideas such as reincarnation and communicating with the dead, it does demonstrate that we humans don’t want this present existence to be the end. We want more than just this physical life.
But death seems so final. How is “life after death” possible?
Yesterday we celebrated Easter to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus’ resurrection not only makes our own resurrection possible, but without it our Christian faith is “futile” and “useless.”
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith… And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17, NIV
Jesus’ death paid the penalty for our sins but His resurrection validated its sufficiency. If Christ has not been raised, then we are still dead in our sins, with no hope for eternity. If our faith is only good for this life, then it really is no good at all and we should be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:19).
But Christ has indeed been raised (1 Cor 15:20)! He has conquered death! Death and the grave have been swallowed up in victory! (See 1 Cor 15:54.)
Even before He was arrested Jesus knew that His death would not end in the grave. He anticipated His resurrection and what it would accomplish.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die. John 11:25, NIV
Jesus’ resurrection not only broke death’s hold on our Savior, it also broke death’s hold on those who belong to Him and paved the way for our future. Here’s a summary of what Christ’s victory over death accomplished for us:
- Confirms the forgiveness of our sins by His death (1 Cor 15:17). His resurrection proved His sacrifice was sufficient.
- Broke the hold of death on us: Because Jesus conquered death it no longer has a grip on us (1 Cor 15:54-57).
- Paves the way for our own physical resurrection: Jesus was the “first fruits.” When He returns, those who belong to Him will also be raised (1 Cor 15:23).
- Provides the example for our resurrection body: Our glorified body will bear the likeness of Jesus’ resurrected body (1 Cor 15:49).
- Makes it possible for us to inherit the Kingdom of God: Our perishable physical body cannot inherit the imperishable, but our imperishable, resurrected bodies will be able to (1 Cor 15:50).
Praise God! Death has been swallowed up in victory!
Have you thought much about what Christ’s resurrection accomplished for you?
Is there a truth discussed above that you haven’t thought much about before now?
- 1 Corinthians 15:12-58
- Romans 6:1-14
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Links to surveys on Americans’ beliefs about life after death: