“Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” Romans 6:8
Paul is either entirely crazy or completely sane when he repeatedly speaks of life when faced with death. If you are a Christian, you likely celebrated Easter a couple of weeks ago. Easter is nothing if it isn’t an encounter with life when face to face with death. Jesus was dead, then He was alive. If Paul is crazy to talk the way he does, then the disciples were crazy for claiming they had seen Jesus risen from the dead. And if Jesus is not risen from the dead, your faith is in vain. And if your faith is in vain, you are to be pitied beyond anyone else in this world.
So do we Christians cling to an empty hope? Nope. We cling to an empty tomb!
Our hope is founded solely upon certain promises made by the Living God. If you trust God, you believe that Jesus is in fact His Son. That Jesus is the Lamb of God. That Jesus is the final Sacrifice to God for the sins of the world. That Jesus died. That death could not keep Him. If you trust God, you believe that Jesus has been raised from the dead, was seen by many, and ascended to heaven to until the Day His Father sends Him back.
And if you believe all that, you also believe God’s promise that we will live with Jesus! Even if we die, we will live. Now don’t get me wrong here. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about death. I’m talking about life. Family Circus™ has it all wrong. The life we’ll live with Jesus is not a life in the clouds, sitting around with wings and harps, watching over the people we’ve left behind on earth. If any of this actually happens, it’s actually describing the state of being dead. This “spirit-only” existence is not life because to be alive, you need a body (cf. the bodily resurrection of Jesus!). If we have to talk about this thing called “being dead”, we should talk about it like the Scriptures do – dead people are awaiting what’s still to come.
When we die, we await life.
We will live with Christ! When the Lord Jesus Christ returns from His rightful place of power beside His Father in heaven, He will command our dead bodies to live! He will clothe what was perishable with the imperishable. He will clothe your death with life like His – life that has no end!
This is the hope we have and it is founded entirely on promises made to us from God Almighty. By the way, God’s track record of promise fulfillment is unrivaled – He always comes through!
“Christ has arisen; He sets us free;
Alleluia, to Him praises be.
Jesus is living! Let us all sing;
He reigns triumphant, heavenly King.
Let us sing praise to Him with endless joy;
Death fearful sting He has come to destroy.
Our sins forgiving, Alleluia!
Jesus is living, Alleluia!”
Christ Has Arisen, Alleluia (Lutheran Service Book, 466)