Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Psalm 49:1-12 Body vs. Soul Death

KEY TEXT: Psalms 49:10-12 For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others. Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they called lands by their own names. Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.

KEY THOT: This week’s lectionary readings focus on death as the common denominator for all persons—rich or poor, wise or foolish. If rich, they leave their wealth for others, for they cannot bring it along with them to their graves. If wise, they end the same way as the foolish—in their graves too. Man apart from God has no hope beyond the grave. Grave is final and grave means the end of life. 

Writing about 1,000 years before Christ's appearance, the psalmist declares that death does not end it all for those who put their trust in God: “But God w koill ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me” (v.15). Death is the end of the body for everyone, but the soul will live on in Sheol (the place of the dead). But for believers, Sheol is not our final resting place. God will rescue us from the power of Sheol.

But Christ has come not just to rescue us from Sheol--He has come to destroy death itself. He died our death and we live now with his resurrection life. When we were baptized, we participated in Christ’s victory over death that has destroyed the death principle in us. We also participated in his resurrection life as we rose with Christ from the dead. That is why Paul could speak of the destruction of death for believers: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57u). 

So, for those who put their trust in Christ, death is not the dead-end of life but the door-way to eternal life. Christians don’t believe in life after death. We believe life after life. Death as has lost its sting in us. When our body dies, our soul lives on with Christ. In Christ, we do not die but live forever. Jesus said in John 11:25-26: "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die."

Nevertheless, we know that whatever good we can do must be done in this life. Beyond the grave will be the judgment seat of Christ which all believers must appear to give an account of our life and the stewardship of our gifts—be it time, money, ministry: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). 

So in view of the reality that death will come to all sooner or later, we should live our lives with eternity in view. For we will have to give an account of our stewardship of this life that God has apportioned to each one of us.

Father, help us seek for spiritual wisdom and wealth from above, rather than earthly wisdom and wealth from below. We renounce our love of earthly wisdom and earthly wealth for they will one day perish. Fill us with wisdom and wealth from above, for they will never perish. Amen.

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