The apostle Paul wrote:

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Co. 15:26, ESV)

Then, as now, mankind’s greatest fear is not a virus from Wuhan but the possibility of death that the virus represents. Viruses and diseases are scary especially when the recipient knows that treatments and vaccines either do not exist or are not necessarily all that effective.

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When we are sick we instinctively think in terms of cure and rely on the doctors and scientists to provide that cure and when they have little to offer at the moment we tend to panic.

Why? Because the specter of death looms large in our minds and death is to be feared above all else. A virus serves as a symbol of sorts that predicts possible doom.

Most people do not want to die. Most believe they have something to live for. The exceptions to that are those who have given up hope for some reason. Either they are depressed to the point of considering suicide or they are ready to die to be released from the suffering of what disease is killing them.

The vast majority want to live; but yet the vast majority do realize that sooner or later death will call. The question then becomes, “then what?”

What happens after physical death?

Some believe we are no more than food for the worms. Others think we achieve some kind of nirvana while others believe in some sort of reincarnation. Some believe they are good persons and God, if he exists at all will allow them a pleasant afterlife because they were mostly good.

In Greek and Roman times many believed that physical death meant life was over and like the modern atheist the body was simply food for the worms. This was despite the fact that the general population believed in the various gods.. Educated Greeks and Romans didn’t believe in the gods but recognized the value of some sort of popular religion especially the Emperor Cult.

Others believed in a kind of shadowy existence without substance although that varied in Roman culture. Although the Romans did not believe in eternal damnation they did believe in a kind of warrior’s paradise called the Fields of Elysium. If you are familiar with the movie Gladiator you see references to Elysium more than once. In the movie, the Russel Crowe character tells his soldiers before the battle, that what we do in life matters in eternity (the Fields of Elysium.) When Crowe is dying he has visions of his dead wife and son in the Fields of Elysium where is to join them.

It was different for the Jew. They believed in an afterlife that was regulated by Yahweh. By Jesus’ time they didn’t debate the afterlife as much as they debated the possibility of physical resurrection due to the influence of the sect of Sadducees.

The apostle Paul, once a Pharisee, wants to be clear about a physical resurrection and wants to be clear about Jesus’ resurrection. He states:

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Co 15:12–20). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Christianity rises or falls on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Either it happened as the Scriptures report or it did not and in that case Christians should be pitied for being no more hopeful than those who thought we are food for the worms or those who bought into some kind of Elysium.

Verse 17 says that if Christ has not been raised then we are still in our sins, our faith clearly pointless. Dying in one’s sins should be a scary proposition since according the Bible there are worse things than dying. Dying in our sins means eternal damnation. The Bible knows nothing of Purgatory and the possibility of atoning for your own sin in any sense.

This is why we need Jesus and Jesus alone to atone for our sins.

Scripture is very clear that our works or our good behavior does not factor into the gospel (Ephesians 2:8-9) in any kind of saving way. All we contribute to the salvation process is our sin.

Jesus paid it all on the Cross, the debt we owed and it’s only through faith and complete trust in Him and the fact he rose from the dead do we avoid the righteous wrath of God.

For those that embrace Jesus on His terms and count their own righteousness as nothing eternal life with Jesus is a promise.

This causes the apostle to pronounce:

“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. 

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Co 15:54–57). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

What does that mean when it comes to the latest virus that seems to suck the hope from so many?

It should mean that the Christian is not panic stricken by the threat of death. It does mean that one should use their common sense with any illness but it should never mean we act as those who have no eternal hope.

It is my prayer that those who at least wonder about what I’m saying seek out a good Bible teaching church.

Here is sermon to help you understand. It’s titled Life in Light of the Resurrection.