Death is not Death

Matthew 9:24, “The girl is not dead but sleeping.”

Although the girl was indeed dead, to Jesus, she was only asleep. Thus, for us Christians, in death we merely fall asleep. It is not a euphemism such as, “she passed away,” in order to avoid the harsh affirmation that “she is dead” and the dark bereavement that comes afterward. That is, it is not a kind euphemism to coddle those who grieve; it is the reality of the Christian soul. The Law kills; it cannot make alive. The Gospel makes alive what the Law kills, namely, our souls. When we die, to us and the world, we are dead; but to Christ, we are asleep, who will wake us up on the Last Day. For as Christ has said, “Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). Only Christians can call their graves their bed, for in it we sleep until Christ wakes us up and takes us home. For the heathen, however—those unbelievers—their graves become their new home. For Christ will resurrect all from the dead, but those baptised who have died to sin in Christ will rise into new life in Christ (Romans 6:3-11); but those who did not die in Christ will be resurrected to be judged to eternal death.

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