The Living Dead

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Daily Reformation, Acts 9:36-43

From the Reformer

“God is a God of the living, and not of the dead.” This text shows the resurrection; for if there were no hope of the resurrection, or of another and better world, after this short and miserable life, wherefore should God offer himself to be our God, and say he will give us all that is necessary and healthful for us, and, in the end, deliver us out of all trouble, both temporal and spiritual? To what purpose should we hear his Word, and believe in him? What were we the better when we cry and sigh to him in our anguish and need, that we wait with patience upon his comfort and salvation, upon his grace and benefits, shown in Christ? Why praise and thank him for them? Why be daily in danger, and suffer ourselves to be persecuted and slain for the sake of Christ’s Word?

Forasmuch as the everlasting, merciful God, through his Word and Sacraments, talks, and deals with us, all other creatures excluded, not of temporal things which pertain to this vanishing life, and which in the beginning he provided richly for us, but as to where we shall go when we depart hence, and gives unto us his Son for a Saviour, delivering us from sin and death, and purchasing for us everlasting righteousness, life, and salvation, therefore it is most certain, that we do not die away like the beasts that have no understanding; but so many of us as sleep in Christ, shall through him be raised again to life everlasting at the last day, and the ungodly to everlasting destruction. (John 5, Dan 12)

—Martin Luther, Table Talk

Pulling It Together

This life begins to fade at birth; babies simply do not see it yet. In time, one recognizes the fact: the older one gets, the more fleeting the days become. Yet life does not end, since God is the God of the living—though one does die in this earthly realm. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Tabitha all died and yet God remains the God of Abraham, Isaac, etc. This is because he is the God of the living. (Matt 22:32) Either they are all still alive or they are not and God is not God. Yet God is alive and so was Tabitha. God simply brought Tabitha’s life back into this plane of existence. Death on earth changes nothing for anyone, except where their life exists. Like Tabitha, the living dead (those asleep in the Lord, as Paul says [1Cor 15:18; 1Th 4:13-15]) remain alive elsewhere. Whether we live or whether we die, we remain in the Lord. (Rom 14:8)

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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