Connections 06.21.2020: Alive

Romans 5:18–6:11

I’ve tried to imagine a world where humans never die. Would the land fill up to the brim? Would we drain the earth’s resources? What would our bodies look like? Would we age at all?

We learn through the Bible that death is punishment for sin (see Gen 3:19; Rom 6:23). So, if there were no sin, I suppose we wouldn’t die. And in an ideal world like that, none of my questions would matter anyway. The truth, of course, is that we die. We are not immortal. Sin is a constant in the human life, even when we aren’t thinking about it. Thus, death happens.

It’s one of the most difficult parts of being a human being. Most of us have lost a loved one to death. If we haven’t, we know someone who has. Or we have seen or heard stories about terrible suffering and death due to accidents or illnesses. Death touches all of our lives.

Death is difficult under any circumstances. But the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly made it trickier to navigate. My husband’s grandmother, “Mama Dee,” passed away one night at her nursing home shortly after our lives were put on lockdown in March. It had been at least a week since her son and daughter-in-law were allowed in to see her. She was ninety-one years old, and we still haven’t been able to have any kind of service honoring her long, rich life. It feels wrong not to celebrate her.

Our pandemic death story is one of hundreds, maybe thousands, and others are much worse: The elderly taking ill in their nursing homes and suffering for days before dying without seeing their families again. Young, relatively healthy people struck down by the virus and dying in their hospital beds after saying good-bye to loved ones on a video chat. The poor around the world passing away in their own beds without any medical care.

Death hangs heavily over this time. It haunts us.

And yet the greatest hope offered by our faith in Jesus Christ is that he ultimately conquered death. He conquered it himself when he rose to life again. He conquered it for us with his love and grace, connecting us to Almighty God in a personal relationship.

During this time, and whenever we feel despair over the certainty of death, let us remember: “…if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him” (Rom 6:8-9). And let us also understand that we can live a resurrection life now, while we are still earthbound. Jesus made this possible. Our sin no longer has a hold over us. Thanks be to God that we are ALIVE!


  • What are your most memorable experiences with death?
  • How has death affected your life?
  • During this time when our world is threatened by a deadly new virus, how do you cope with fear of death?
  • Why do you think death is the punishment for sin?
  • How can you cling to the Bible’s resurrection promises in ways that affect your life now?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, and her husband John. Occasionally, she appears onstage in community theater productions and can sometimes be found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel movies, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who, and she’s still trying to write a young adult novel that her girls will enjoy.


For further resources, subscribe to the Formations Teaching Guide and Commentary. Additionally, the Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary series is a scholarly but accessible means for enhancing your study of each lesson.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email