Recently there was a spate of firings among online journalists. You know the names: Tucker Carlson, Don Lemon, Nate Silver, and probably others I don’t know about. Outrage came from their fans and malicious celebration from their detractors. It reminded me how much we’ve been taught to think our greatest enemies are our ideological and political adversaries. If only we could vanquish them, we think, all would be well.
I am certainly not apolitical nor indifferent to moral flashpoints. But this current civil war of words believes itself to be an ultimate struggle of some sort. You can tell by the way experts are willing to spin a narrative, use tricked-out polling data, or launch into tantrums on the air. This worrisome dynamic sets up the 2024 election to possibly be the ugliest and most disrespectful one yet, no matter who wins. At some point, things seem destined to turn bloody on a national scale.
It’s as though our attention has been drawn away from the real threat–something every politician is going to face, every silver-tongued pundit, every head of every news network. This includes, one by one, the most crafty social media influencer, the most embittered activist, the loudest mouth, and the most loyal partisan. All will personally meet and fall victim to the same thing.
That impartial, uncaring force that is utterly disinterested, that celebrates no one, will claim both cherished hero and unknown fool. Even as we live apathetically toward it, spiritual death eats up the soul like a hidden cancer, then claims the body, then spoils eternity.
From the mountaintop view, that’s more concerning than who said what on Youtube.
I realize that those in the naturalism camp will find my observation absurd. Death to them is only biological, mere entropy. Therefore, it’s silly to see it as “the enemy.” Better to treat it with scientific nonchalance, singing along with Elton John’s “Circle of Life.”
But the more we tell ourselves death is normal, the more it doesn’t feel so.
Death is not normal to a human being. It truncates the profound and noble being that God made “a little lower than the angels” and “crowned with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:5). Death doesn’t look right or feel right on us, which was another reason God warned Adam about it.
Before we lament our sad station, we have to remember we were complicit in our own fall. It was, therefore, a pure work of grace that Christ came, died for our sins, and then rose from the dead. He didn’t have to do it.
At any rate, while His cross dealt with our sins, His resurrection spoke directly to the death element filling us and looming over our future.
In the great resurrection chapter of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul said, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (v. 20).
Jesus was like an early crop, yielding fruit. That’s an odd term to us non-agricultural types–”Firstfruit”–but “first” means there’s more to come. In the wake of His successful rising, a lot more will come.
Resurrection initiates a slow process by which millions of other people are drawn into its powerful reality. It first moves into the heart through faith, then slowly matures, annihilating every form of death, spiritual, psychological, and at long last, biological (check out Romans 8:10, 6, 11).
At the final point, the issue of resurrection will become so concrete, so practical, that the apostle speaks of it as swallowing up our mortality:
54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
You can predict the future of any cute, cuddly baby animal. Death. That’s the way the food chain works. You learned it in elementary school. Big fish eat little fish, yadda, yadda, right down to plankton. If anything’s left over, well, nature’s clean-up crew eats as well, from maggots all the way up to crows with spatulas. But you were never meant to be on that menu. That is, not until “death spread to all men” (Rom. 5:12). And now it’s here, dispatching the most gifted of our kind by the thousands every day.
That’s why it’s a gross miscalculation to think of our battles as primarily horizontal. Above ground, the guy next to me might be my enemy for fifteen minutes. The two of us might take turns vanquishing one another with words, ideas, logic, and hollering. We’ll speak of victory in terms of market share and percentage points, subscribers, and likes. Maybe our jousting will even be over things that have some level of importance.
But final victory can only be measured in terms of defeating a final foe.
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26).
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on John Myer
Featured Image by Kerri Shaver on Unsplash
[…] Open the full article on the kingdomwinds.com site […]