I've noticed lately how one particular word in our vocabulary as a society has been "dying" out. That is the word death (and its cousins die, dying, and died). It has been replaced with the phrase passed away. Ah, passed away a much gentler term; it doesn't cause one to think nearly as much as that nasty word death does. I certainly can understand why the world as a whole would prefer the phrase passed away to the word death, particularly when we're talking about a funeral and someone we loved. Death is abrupt and ugly and makes us very uncomfortable. Passing away fades us off into another existence. Passing away can be whatever we want it to be. It's very comfortable. Yes. I can understand why the world likes this phrase, but I'm not sure why Christians have adopted the practice of using the phrase passed away. It seems to me that Christians should be "the death people" if you will (no morbidity implied, please hear me out).
Death is the reason we are Christians.
Death entered this world because of sin.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17.
Jesus Christ conquered death.
"But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay." Matthew 28:5-6
"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. O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:54-57
Jesus Christ reconciled us to God through his death.
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." Romans 5:6-11
We die to ourselves and to sin through Jesus Christ.
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:9-11
Sin brought death into the world; Jesus Christ makes eternal life possible.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Christian, let's think twice about replacing the word death with the phrase passed away. Doing so desensitizes us to death and could result in removing the word from our vocabulary altogether. How will we ever share the gospel message without it?
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