by Steve Hall
Spring is a happy season, when the world comes to life again from the cold winter months. Blossoms bud, birds warble, brooks bubble, as warmth and color flows into the cold barren land once again. There is nothing more wonderful and beautiful than life. We can reminisce about happy spring through the winter months, but there is nothing like actually getting there!
I have pictures in my office of my beautiful wife, reminders of her, reminders of memories with her and of days gone by, but there is nothing like having her with me for real. I’m not in love with a picture of her, I’m in love with the real thing! Pictures bring back priceless memories, but they cannot take the place of something like… touch. Real. Life.
I’m amazed at the artistry that can come from the brush of a talented painter. Or a stunning photograph from a high quality camera that has captured a moment of splendid beauty, full of depth and color. But as captivating as those images are, it’s only a shadow of the real thing— it does not take the place of actually being there. To see it, touch it, smell it, breathe it in.
How can you even define life? Think about that for just a minute. One way to help us think about something is to think about its opposite. What is the opposite of life? Well, I suppose you could say the opposite of life is nothingness. Whatever that is. Where there is no life there is… nothing. If you have not been given the gift of life then, of course, you do not exist. The point here is that life is a gift from the only One Who can “make” it. The Psalmist speaks of God forming his inward parts, and uses the word picture of being knit together in his mother’s womb; of being made in secret, intricately woven. He says, I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knows right well. (Psalm 139:14) You and I would not be in existence if we had not been given the gift of life. And what a good gift it is.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knows right well.— Psalm 139:14
God has given mankind the ability to create, just as He creates. The creative part of us is there as a result of being made “in the image of God.” The creativity within us and the appreciation of beauty is great evidence of our being created by an awesome Creator. Animals don’t create in this way. The animal kingdom is a demonstration of the creativity of God, and this brings Him glory. But mankind was made to make— to create— in order to reflect our Creator. Our creations direct attention and worship and glory toward the great Creator.
But no man or woman can create like God creates. Only God makes real life. And whatever is truly life is truly good. Everything God does is good. Men can make images of real life, but God makes life itself. God’s works are alive, and they are very good (Genesis 1:31). Life is good.
So one way to see the opposite of life, is to think of life never having been given. Now, once the gift of life has been given, there is another opposite. This is probably the word that would come to your mind if I asked you, “What is the opposite of life?” That word of course is death. The opposite of life is the last enemy that will finally be destroyed under the feet of King Jesus— death. (1 Corinthians 15:26)
Death is an enemy. It is the ending and taking away of life that was never intended to end. Death entered into this life-filled world because of man’s sin.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.— Romans 5:12
Sin came in and, as God had warned would happen, death was the end result. Sin has polluted God’s good creation of life. While life is the gift of God, death is the ultimate goal of the enemy who is diametrically opposed to God and the life that flows from the Creator. We see this played out in many ways, but here we are mainly focusing on the most obvious way, physical death. Satan is a killer. He was a murderer from the beginning. He promises life (a lie) but in reality, he is seeking to steal, kill, and destroy— The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: (John 10:10)— these things are antithetical to life. And this is a good summary of his work every time. God’s works are life, and life is good, every time. The works of Satan and sin are death and destruction. Every time.
God is all light and life and joy and goodness, the opposite of darkness and the works of death. Death, in all of its forms, came as a result of sin. Man made a choice, and the consequence of disobedience was (and is) death. This is really bad news. But, there is the gospel, the really good news. Again, Jesus said, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) Because of the work of the evil one, and the disobedience of our first parents, though men may be alive physically, they are dead spiritually— dead to God. And to be dead to God is to be in this world without any hope. But Jesus has come. And for those who will believe on Him He gives abundant life. Warmth and color flows into the cold, barren souls of dead men. A miraculous “new creation” takes place through faith in Christ. Spiritual fruit begins to come forth in this life. And one day, all who have died physically will be bodily resurrected, when that last enemy has been finally defeated:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:— 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16
Physical life will ultimately triumph over death, and all because of the One Who is The Life, Jesus.
While we are in this world, we are to be the body of Christ, spreading the light, taking a stand against darkness and death in all of its ugly forms.
Life is from God. Life is good.