Death Devoured

April 18, 2017

This morning part of my Bible reading included Psalm 90. Moses’ words in this Psalm are very sobering. He writes “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.” A few verses down he writes, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Both of these verses are rather jolting. I’m less than nine years away from seventy. I say that I’ve started my descent into the Celestial City (to use Bunyan’s moniker). More than this, I can see the lights running down the runway off in the distance.

The verse calling us to number our days that we may have a wise heart has always resonated with me. However, even at this point in my life, I’m not happy with my heart-wisdom. This coupled with the Celestial City off in the not too distant distance is somewhat troubling.

Of course, when any believer evaluates his or her life, he or she will be somewhat disappointed. We know that we’ve frittered away many, many opportunities to grow and serve. When this happens, we need to be reminded of the gospel. After my Psalms reading this morning I read some Calvin. I’m working my way through the English translation of his 1541 French edition of the Institutes. I’m reading the section where he is explicating and supporting the Apostles’ Creed, and I ran across these sentences talking about Christ’s death:

By dying he ensured that we would not die; in other words, by his death he obtained life for us. He differed from us, however, in this respect: he chose death as if it should consume him; yet not to be devoured by it but to devour it was his purpose, so that it should cease to have dominion over us. He chose to be overcome by death, not to be crushed and oppressed by it but to destroy the rule it wielded over us. Finally he died, that in dying he might destroy him who had lordship over death, that is, the devil, and might deliver those who all their lives were captive to the fear of death (Heb. 2:14-15).

Great truth, huh? Christ’s purpose in dying was to devour death. He died to destroy the rule death had over us. He died so that he might destroy the devil. Unless Jesus returns soon, your death is a certainty. However, because of Christ’s death, death for the believer is simply that instant when the wheels touch down and we wake up in the Celestial City. As Calvin writes, “We will not die.” Jesus has devoured death for us. I want that heart of wisdom. I will keep pushing for it. The good news is that even the believer with a heart that is marbled with a great deal of folly will still land in the Celestial City simply because Jesus devoured death. The Good News is truly good news!

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