The fear of death has a certain power, and that is – shortsightedness. The fear of dying, arises from the fear of unknown. It is the fear of not knowing what will happen to us after we die. The power, such fear holds on us, is one of nonchalance. It makes us care less about the future. And urges us to indulge in the present bodily pleasures. It is hedonism govern by mortality. You don’t know what happens after you die, so you might as well enjoy life while you can.
The fear of death, is the power of sin – this is the law of sin and death at play. This is one of the two laws that governs human lives; the other being the law of righteousness. (Rom 8:2) The Apostle Paul explains, you are either a slave under the law of sin, or you’re a slave under the law of righteousness. (Rom 6:15-23) The latter of which, is a status that Christ came to grant us. (Heb 2:14-15) And so, for that reason – Christ had to reincarnate as a man – to pay the debt as a man, for the sins of mankind. Because no man could meet the requirements of the law.
Piper writes, “Jesus became man because what was needed was the death of a man who was more than man. The incarnation was God’s locking himself into death row.” (pg. 39) Christmas marks this incarnation or perhaps more appropriately – incarceration. Jesus subjected Himself to the law of sin and death, that through Him we could partake in His victory over it. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1Pe 2:24, ESV) “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” (Rom 7:4, ESV)
Christ has overcome the power of sin and death. It means, He has granted us victory over it, and through Him, and in Him – we overcome the power of death. It means, our life after death is certain. He has secured eternity for us. If we are truly His, and if we truly believe Him, it means there is no uncertainty (after death) staring back at us. It means, fleeting moments of temporary pleasure, holds no greater sway on us, because we are confident about eternal life. It means, you are victoriously living with the whole armour of God put in place. (Eph 6:10-18) It means a life that is not indulgent in sin; which ultimately means, a life free from guilt and condemnation. In other words, overcoming the power of death means – a life of righteous living, in pursuit of holiness.
Christmas should mark a commencement of such life for you and me. Rightfully so, the Prophet Isaiah proclaimed Christ as the Father of Eternal Life. (Is 9:6) He overcame death, so you and I could begin living, as people risen in Christ.
Note: All of Piper’s quotations are from “Good News of Great Joy”
Read previous entries in this Series:
(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came (xiii) December 12: Replacing the Shadows (xiv) December 13: Christ, the Real Thing, the Perfect Priest (xv) December 14: Making Transformation Real (xvi) December 15: Abundant Life (xvii) December 16: An Unlikely Route to Victory (xviii) December 17: Freedom & Joy Secured in Him (xix) December 18: Pass Me Not