Systematic Theology: The Doctrine of God: Lecture Notes: Chapter 41-The Doctrine Of Death

The Doctrine of God[1]

Lecture Notes[2] Chapter 41-The Doctrine Of Death


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.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (ESV)

  1. The Reason For Death

Men must die because of sin.

1 Corinthians 15:50 (ESV)
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Rom. 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death. Just like everything else in life, man tends to see death as the opposite of what it really is. Man sees it as the end of existence. God sees it as the continuation or the transferring of existence. It is really the BEGINNING for ALL MEN—the lost as well as the saved. Most don’t realize that.

  1. The Place Of Death

There are 3 truths we need to know about when we die:

  1. There’s no such thing as annihilationism. This is a belief that all people, or just unbelievers, simply cease to exist after they die.
  2. There is no purgatory. According to catholic tradition, the destination of certain people was still undecided, so they worked and suffered in this place in order to have a 2nd chance to get to Heaven. This spits is the face of Christ who ALONE paid the penalty for our sins and it is “not of works so no one can boast.” It does no good to pray for those, lost or saved, because their eternity has already been entered into.

Luke 16:24-26 (ESV)
24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’
25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.
26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’

  1. There is no “soul sleep.” We IMMEDIATELY go to 1 of 2 places. There is no “soul sleep” where we go to a state of nonexistence for a time until Jesus calls us “again” to whatever place we’re going to. Christ was not unconscious after death and neither will we be. The sleep Scripture refers to is a temporary physical condition, not a spiritual one.

Luke 16:24-26 (see above). In Luke 23:43, Jesus said, “Today, you shall be with me in Paradise.”

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (ESV)
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,
7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.
8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

III. The Fear Of Death

We fear death because of:

  1. The unknown
  2. Loving this world
  3. The pain of seeing others leave. It’s not wrong to be broken-hearted over those that die, but as believers, it is wrong to fear death because of it.

1 Corinthians 15:56 (ESV)
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

Hebrews 2:14-15 (ESV)
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

  1. The Christian’s Death

Christians die because:

  1. We still live in a fallen, sinful, decaying world.
  2. To the believer, death is a promotion!! IT IS THE FINAL REMOVAL OF SIN AND ITS EFFECTS! Do you see it as such? Death is no longer a punishment for those who fear Christ. Death doesn’t have the sting that belongs to those who have no hope.

1 Corinthians 15:51-57 (ESV)
51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
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.

Remember our order of salvation:

  1. Election
  2. The Gospel Call
  3. Regeneration
  4. Conversion
  5. Justification
  6. Adoption
  7. Sanctification
  8. Preservation (Perseverance)
  9. Death
  10. Glorification

We could link death with sanctification! Death can be considered a part of sanctification because it is the final earthly step in the process of making us more like Christ. So, then shouldn’t we look at growing older and grower weaker as a part of that? Shouldn’t we welcome that process? Shouldn’t we receive that as another step closer to getting rid of this mortality and putting on immortality?

Romans 8:1 (ESV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:10 (ESV)
10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Paul means by this that Jesus obeyed, trusted God, and forgave and served others. Remember Esther’s famous quote: “If I perish, I perish.”

This is just a small sampling of how our Father wants us to view death:

Psalm 116:15 (ESV)
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Philippians 1:20-23 (ESV)
20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.
23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

It is a welcome; an invitation; to finally see our awesome, glorious King!!

Revelation 12:11 (ESV)
11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

Do we have this same courage that our great cloud of witnesses had in denying self and comfort and safety to lay down our lives to stand for our Christ? If not, let us dwell on His Word as they did on this matter:

1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.


[1] Based on and various Quotes from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, Zondervan

[2] All Scripture from ESV Bible, Crossway

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