Summary and Recap of Part 1
People were created for life (Genesis 1:26-21). We were created to enjoy togetherness, but in death we are ripped apart. Death is wrong: it is unnatural and completely opposed to the purpose for which God made us. He breathed into the first man the breath of life (Genesis 2:7), but then that man rebelled and chose the way of death (Genesis 3:1-6, Romans 5:12, 19).
The essence of true life–eternal life–is to “know…the only true God” (John 17:3). In this physical world, that life overflows into our relationships with other people (Psalm 133, Matthew 22:36-40, John 13:34-35). The pain of death in this world lies largely in being torn apart from those we love. Yet the pain is much deeper for eternal death: to truly die is to be torn away forever from the Source of Life (John 5:40, 6:47-54, Revelation 20:15-21:8, 27).
God’s plan can never fail. He created us for life, and even when we chose death, He made a way for us to live.
How do you fix a separation? By coming close. Yet we can’t come close to God–He is holy and perfect, and evil cannot dwell in His presence (Psalm 5:4). So God came close to us. John 1:14 says that His Son, Jesus Christ, “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.” But just seeing someone and being physically near them doesn’t create a relationship. A relationship only works when both persons involved desire it and seek it. And the only way that we as rebellious people can ever desire and seek God is if our rebellion is taken away and our hearts are entirely changed. So that’s what Jesus came to do.
Jesus Christ took away our sin by paying the full penalty for it in His own body (1 Peter 2:24). To give us life, He had to die. He had to endure separation and rejection from His Father, the separation that was the result of our disobedience. So at Jesus’s most vulnerable moments on the cross, God the Father had to turn away and cease dwelling with His own Son, Who had become sin for us (Matthew 27:46, 2 Corinthians 5:21). But because Jesus was holy God, once the penalty of separation had been paid, it was done. Death was powerless and life was available to all (Romans 6:5-11).
Then Jesus changed us by giving us a completely new life: those who received Him were pulled back from death and born into His family–born from God, Who is eternal, to everlasting life (John 1:12, John 3:3-7, Ephesians 2:1-5, 1 Peter 1:23). We used to be “without Christ…having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus [we] who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13).
Not only have we been given true eternal life through a relationship with God, in Jesus Christ we also have life in restored relationships with other people. “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). And one day, our whole family will be together in one giant, never-ending reunion.
Death is wrong, but for those who have been born into God’s family, it’s only a temporary separation. It jolts us and hurts, but it reminds us that our true life is in God, our true home is spiritual, and our true family is one of everlasting bonds.
“For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout…And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).