“For dust you are, and to dust you shall return,” Genesis
Spoken graveside these words do little to ease the pain and grief of a loved one's death. I believe God had something else in mind besides a final benediction. He called for a resurrection. “How so?” you ask.
If this appears to be a stretch, bear with me. In verse nineteen God said Adam was dust now and in the future would return to dust. How’s that possible…a change in molecular structure.
At that moment, the dust which comprised Adam’s composition was corrupt and subject to decay. At creation that wasn't the case. Before sin Adam and Eve's spirits were alive. Clothed with God's glory, all changed with one bite of the original un-Happy Meal. Instantaneously their spirits died, the glory departed. They were naked and ashamed.
God prophesied in verse nineteen a future return to their original state. His words foretold of salvation through Christ's death. God and man would be reconciled. Paul, the apostle, understood this mystery. In his letter to the Colossians he wrote:
“Since you died with Christ,” Col. 2:20;
“For you are dead and your life is now hidden with Christ in God,” Col. 3:3.
The recipients of Paul's letter were alive naturally but he called them dead men. Why? They hadn't expired physically and been resurrected. They were now the new creatures Paul described in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come!”
The church at Colosse experienced a metamorphosis. Their once dead spirits were brought back to life. They surrendered their lives to Christ, died to self, and received new life through Him. They returned to their original condition as living, breathing, speaking spirits. The transformation process was in place. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul talked about a future resurrection of our physical bodies. The apostle wrote that these would be raised imperishable, in glory, in power and also as spiritual bodies. Adam and every believer will return to the original dust of creation.
Christians understand that death does not necessarily mean a permanent separation – it can be a temporary state, painful but not eternal. Those who've receive God's gift of salvation through Jesus experience resurrection of their spirit from death. In due season the entire package: spirit, soul and body will be returned to God's original intent. Death is not to be feared, its stinger has been removed. Like Paul we can confidently confess:
“...to live is Christ and to die is gain,” Philippians 1:21.
How about you? Can you look death square in the eye confident that it's not the end but the release from life in this temporal world? If not, why not? Why wait another moment to accept God's free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. It's more than just fire insurance, it's admission to what is really the “Greatest Show on Earth” and in Heaven.