2 Timothy 1:10
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death…
If on a starlight night we undertake a journey On foot, and we know the general bearings of the country along which we pass and the general direction of the course we must take to reach the desired goal, we may with care and painstaking come to the end of our journey in safety. The moon is shining in the heavens, the constellations are glittering over our heads, and by the aid of the stars travellers can cross the trackless desert. But there are disadvantages in taking the journey by night which do not exist in the full light of day. With care we may keep the beaten path by night, yet sometimes there are difficulties in so doing. Mr. Forbes tells us that in his long night ride in South Africa he was obliged to alight from his horse to feel the ground, that he might be sure of the waggon-track. Then there are finger-posts here and there, but the light at night will not enable us to decipher the inscriptions. We pass by pleasant orchards and gardens, and in the daytime we see the fruits and flowers, but these are hidden in the night. There are avenues of trees whose boughs and branches interlace, which cast dark shadows in the night, bat which in the day form cool resting-places. The beauty of the landscape is for the most part lost in the night, but in the day we look upon it with pleasure. The night journey is not so convenient and pleasant as the journey by day. Now, the journey by night represents to us the life of the saints of God before the advent of the Saviour into the world, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The journey by day represents the life of God's children living in the broad daylight of the Christian revelation. Christ said of Himself, "I am the light of the world." Before His coming it was the night-time of Divine revelation. God's saints must walk by faith, as men walk in the night by the light of the moon and stars. When He came, the Sun of Righteousness arose to bless the world with His light. There were dark shadows for the ancient saints where we find quiet resting-places. There were mysteries which they could not decipher, which are clear to us in the light of Christ.
I. CONSIDER CHRIST ABOLISHING DEATH.
1. Christ removed the uncertainty that hung over death. If we go down into the catacombs of Rome, the subterranean passages beneath the city, we may see the remains of heathen and Christian lying side by side. Over the heathen dead are inscribed words of hopeless sorrow. A Pagan mother writes words of bitter despair over her child, as if the handful of ashes were all that remained of the darling she once fondled and cherished. The ancient writings and funeral inscriptions of the heathen world, with few exceptions, corroborate the words of the Apostle Paul that they lived without hope, and that their sorrow for their departed friends was without hope. On the other hand, the words written over the Christian dead speak of the departed as being at rest with God. Over them we might write the words inscribed over the entrance to the catacombs of Paris, "Beyond these bounds they rest in peace, looking for the blessed hope." We must not attribute the same hopelessness to the Hebrew patriarchs, prophets, and righteous men of the elder dispensation. They seem to have had a persuasion of a life beyond the present. But a comparison of the words of the Old Testament saints with those of the apostles will present to us a contrast. "To die is gain." "Our home is in heaven, from whence we look for the Saviour." "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness." Christ removed the uncertainty and obscurity which hung over death, and asserted the resurrection of all the dead, both of the just and the unjust.
2. Christ gives assurance of the full remission of sins and of the Divine favour to all who believe on Him. "The sting of death is sin."
II. JESUS CHRIST HATH BROUGHT LIFE AND IMMORTALITY TO LIGHT. Mark the force of the words "life" and "immortality." Life, as will be seen by comparing the passages in which the word occurs in the New Testament, represents the highest blessedness to which we can attain. If we are in Christ, a new life has been implanted within us by the Holy Spirit, and that life will grow and expand until we reach the highest of which our nature is capable. This term includes all the blessedness to be found in communion with God, from the open vision of the Saviour and His glory, from the society of God's redeemed people, from the study of God's works in creation, providence, and redemption, from the fullest and most perfect service of God; in one word, all that we sum up in the word heaven. The word immortality completes the conception of the better life, showing that it is without decay or death. Whilst everything around us is suggestive of decay, the life of the Spirit is one of immortality.
(W. Bull, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: