There is one sense in which death is the enemy of Christians. It entered the world with the first sinner, and it has stayed through the millenia wreaking havoc on the biological bodies of men and women. It brutally beats those bodies down, then rips their inhabitants from friends and family members, leaving those loved ones writhing in emotional pain and a palpable sense of loss. But it wasn’t just the tragedy of biological death that came with that sin. A very real spiritual death entered the world with it. Biological death separated men from men, and men from the world. The spiritual death that also came separated men from God. It was a dismal man-made catastrophe. One that made man battered, alone, and subject to all manner of misery.
God anticipated that catastrophe, and before it had even started, he set in motion a plan to rescue men. His mission succeeded (Isaiah 53:1-10, John 19:28-30). The sacrifice of Jesus rescued men from their sin. His resurrection conquered death. The gift of his Holy Spirit restored men and women to relationship with God and gave them real life. The victory was complete! For the Christian, death no longer has a sting (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). And it is in this sense that death, while perhaps not a friend, is a bittersweet milestone to be celebrated.
The men and women who accepted the call of God, and who have placed their lives in submission to his Gospel have conquered death many times over by introducing people to the very good news that they, too, can be rescued from sin and death, and restored to a right relationship with God. Their work has the truest meaning of all. They’ll be rewarded for that work. When Christians die they are immediately ushered into the presence of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:6-8, Philippians 1:21-24). They will converse with him, and experience his unfiltered wisdom and love. They will be transformed, and will see Jesus as he really is (1 John 3:2). The greatest beauties of earth cannot compare to the riches and gloriousness of Heaven. The two places are universes apart. When death comes to the Christian, it is death that loses. Even the family members that lose their loved ones, lose them only for the blink of an eye if they, too, are followers of Christ.
For the Christian, death is conquered, and sin replaced with virtue and sainthood. Imagine a world full of the glory and love of God, and absent the weight of sin. Follow Christ, and enter it. Help others to do the same.