– William Penn
Dead in Our Sins
Paul wrote to the Ephesians, and really to us, too, “and you were dead in the trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1), but He “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:5). It’s like God said to me one day, “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Eph. 5:14), and He did. Clearly, “you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins” (Col. 2:13). The death penalty has been lifted; we’ve been pardoned by God. As John wrote, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers” (1 John 3:14).
The God of the Living
When the Sadducees asked Jesus about the resurrection, He informed them, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt. 22:32). That’s not the answer they were expecting, so “when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching” (Matt. 22:33). At funerals I give, I tell them that the departed Christian is not here; they are with the Lord. We grieve, but they are not dead. They are just in a different place. It’s not goodbye but “see you later.”
Paul wrote, “We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8) because in eternity, “time shall be no longer” (Rev. 10:6c). When we enter into the kingdom, did you know that time won’t matter anymore? Isn’t that encouraging? No wonder Paul agonized over being with the believers or being with the Lord, writing, “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Phil. 1:23). I see his point.
William Penn made a good point when he said “death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.” At one point we were deader than Lazarus’ four days’ dead, but God’s the God of the living and not the dead, and when we step into that timeless eternity, we’ll be with the Lord forever more. Isn’t that “better by far?”