Death Abolished
2 Timothy 1:10
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death…

I. That we may feel the true impression of this Divine declaration, it will be necessary first to show WHAT IT IS NOT INTENDED TO TEACH. The state of fact, no less than the express averments of Holy Writ, forbid us to entertain the thought, that the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ has arrested the progress of that law of mortality which followed in the train of disobedience. Our present relations are formed but to be dissolved; death, like a canker worm, preys at the root of all our comforts. We "have here no continuing city"; and soon "the place that now knows us shall know us no more for ever." Philosophy may attempt to solve this mysterious problem; may tell us that mortality is a law of our nature; may point us to the analogies of creation around us. But withdraw from our view the inspired record which connects death with Adam's sin, and which exhibits it in the light of a penalty entailed upon transgression, and philosophy has no satisfactory reason to assign for a catastrophe so overwhelming and so universal. It may, indeed, affirm the state of fact, and argue from thence that it is the nature of man that he should die; but how much more satisfactory is the philosophy of Scripture (which no sound philosophy ought to exclude), which tells us that man was made for life, that death is the forfeit of disobedience, and that but for sin the struggle of mortality would never have been beheld in our world!

II. In our text we are taught to look upon death as in some practical SENSE A VANQUISHED FOE; and since it cannot be in the sense of staying its inexorable reign in our world, it becomes us to show the true and only sense in which it can be affirmed that "our Saviour Jesus Christ hath abolished death." The expression is very remarkable; and the doctrine it contains is animating in the highest degree to all who embrace it with. a realising faith. The idea conveyed by the original word is that of such an effectual counteraction of death, as involves a complete victory over it.

1. When the apostle asserts that "Christ hath abolished death," we must understand him, first of all, as proclaiming Christ's own personal victory over it.

2. But we must not forget that the victory which our Saviour Jesus Christ achieved in His own person over death was intimately connected with the nature and ends of that "decease which He accomplished at Jerusalem." Death, we must never forget, entered our world as the mark of apostasy, as the penalty of transgression; if ever, then, it was to be "abolished," it must be by some dispensation which should effectually provide for the remission of sin, and for the restoration of apostate man to the favour and image of his God. In the hour of Messiah's deep agony, "the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all"; and when with His last breath He exclaimed, "It is finished," the mighty work was then performed upon which depended the reconciliation to peace and life of untold millions of the human race. Having "finished the work which the Father gave Him to do," met every demand which devolved upon Him as the sinner's Surety, it was impossible, upon all the principles of the Divine government, upon all the arrangements of covenanted love, that He should be holden of the bands of death.

3. When the apostle asserts that "our Saviour Jesus Christ hath abolished death" we may assure ourselves that the real members of His body, all true Christians, will share His own triumph. Of this joyful fact there is a series of progressive evidence. The moment that any sinner is quickened to spiritual life, he is "quickened together with Christ," and is brought to feel in that conversion "the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings," and is "made conformable unto His death."

4. The next stage of the proof that death shall be abolished will he supplied when believers are "absent from the body and present with the Lord." The fruition of the celestial paradise will divest them of every doubt or misgiving as to the resurrection of their mortal bodies. Every time they gaze on the glorified humanity of Him in whose presence they stand they will exult in the thought of that mighty exercise of power and love which shall quicken their tabernacles of clay, and unite them as spiritual bodies to their emancipated and happy spirits. They are waiting in glorious hope "for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of their bodies"; and, having received the first-fruits, they are looking forward to the harvest of the earth, when the number of God's elect shall be accomplished, and when all the objects of celestial hope shalt be fully realised. At last the bright moment of perfected bliss shall arrive when death shall be literally "abolished"; when all the regions of mortality shall be divested of their spoils; when the whole redeemed Church shall stand complete in her glorified Head; when all shall be perfectly conformed in body and soul to the image of Him whets "the first-born among many brethren."

5. But there is one view of this subject which yet remains to be taken by us: it is the proof which is so often afforded of the truth of the apostle's declaration that death is "abolished," in the feelings with which departing saints are often enabled to look forward to their great change. Some there are, indeed, of God's servants who "through fear of death are all their lifetime subject to bondage"; their minds are perplexed with doubts and fears, and they cannot realise their title to the everlasting inheritance. But it is matter of great joy and thankfulness when faith is triumphant in the dying moment; when it can sing with an unfaltering tongue, "O death, where is thy sting," thy boasted sting? "O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

(J. Morison, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

WEB: but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News.

Death Abolished
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