The Spirit of the Lord, §4.2: Death of Death

Second, Jesus Christ not only came to free us from sin and guilt; he came to liberate us from our bondage to death. The death of Christ is the death of Death: “Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55). The final cry of Jesus from the cross—“it is finished” (Jn. 19:30)—assures us that “as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ” (1 Cor. 15:22). As the death of Death, the work of Christ on the cross is not limited to an internal freedom from sin. The efficacious work of Christ reaches into the very marrow of our being. Death marks all of life; it, too, reaches into the marrow of our being, thus provoking a powerful divine response to the pandemic of death which rages throughout our world. Death pervades creation and perverts a theater of flourishing into a theater of suffering, turning Eden into Sheol and Gethsemane into Golgotha. Death is universally destructive, both on the macro level of stellar decay and on the micro level of cells devastated by invading viruses. It is in the midst of this universality of death that God comes in Jesus Christ to inaugurate a new universality of life: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). Jesus did not come simply to reverse death’s destructive influence or to release us from death’s totalizing grip; Jesus Christ came to definitively defeat death. Christ came to destroy the destroyer, to kill the killer—and he did it in the most scandalous of ways, by allowing himself to be killed, by going to the depths of Sheol, and then by being “raised to life for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). Any attempt to spiritualize the death of death commits the doubly great error of minimizing present human suffering and ignoring the magnitude of our liberation from the fear of death—a liberation that frees us for the full enjoyment of life. We are, here and now, freed for life.


byron said…
Pandemic of death
Great phrase.

How do people spiritualise the death of death?
byron said…
I'm really enjoying this series!
About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17]. God sent his Son into the world to reconcile us to Himself (Col 1: 20.) Jesus Christ came not to tell us the answer to the universal problem of evil, but to overcome evil, sin and death by His everlasting love. Division and dissension, hatred and fear, aggressive power and exploitation could be conquered only by a gentle, suffering love unto death. By freely sacrificing his human life in dying for us, Jesus in His humanity was raised to glory by His Father’s Spirit and is now able to live within us.

Peace Be With You