by Frans Bakker
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. —1 Corinthians 15:26
1 Corinthians 15:20–26
At the entrance of a certain cemetery there is an iron gate bearing the following words, “You are waiting; I am too.” Yes, beloved, there is an enemy waiting for us and he will not wait in vain. Death comes to all men. It is appointed unto man once to die. We all succumb to death’s cold grip in spite of all our attempts to retain life and vitality. Have you ever thought about this enemy? With sin, death came into the world.
If only death were not our enemy! Think of Enoch and Elijah, who did not enter death. The absence of death would deliver a child of God from much tribulation. Could that be possible? Certainly the absence of death is possible because Christ defeated death on the cross. But it pleases the Lord to keep this enemy to remind His people of their sins. This last enemy will keep God’s people close to Him. If God’s church did not live in light of death, it would not live unto God. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Paul’s words are written to provide comfort, not to cause fear.
To whom are these words of comfort directed? They are for those who still have another enemy besides death. Because death is the last enemy, but it is not the greatest enemy. The greatest enemy is sin. The sting of physical death pales in comparison to the heavy burden of sin. We say this not to let people feel at ease with death. Feeling the burden of sin does not imply forgiveness of sins, but the burden of sin will lead to Christ. We can be so afraid of temporary death. Imagine death coming to you. The heart trembles when we notice death’s footsteps. But, oh, we should tremble at the thought of being spiritually dead now and for all eternity. This spiritual death causes us to be cold towards God. Be more afraid, therefore, of the greatest enemy than of the last enemy, and flee to God for safety.
From The Everlasting Word by Frans Bakker, compiled and translated by Gerald R. Procee. Reformation Heritage Books and Free Reformed Publications, 2007. Used by permission. For further information, click here.