2 Timothy 1:10
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death…
We have here —
1. An agent referred to by the word "Who," that is Jesus Christ.
2. We have a work which He has done — "abolished death."
3. A glorious disclosure which He has made, "brought life and immortality to light."
4. The means by which this revelation is made known — "the gospel."
I. THE AGENT. When men have an important work to do, it is of great consequence to find a properly qualified person to do it. The Lord Jesus Christ possessed all the requisite qualifications for the great work of atoning for sins and reconciling man to God, since He was both God and man. Not merely that men might be pardoned and set free, but that they might be restored to the favour of God, and the long interrupted harmony and union between God and man re-established.
II. Now let us glance at WHAT HE HAS DONE — "abolished death" (Romans 5:12). But there is a threefold division of death: Temporal, or the death of the body; spiritual, or being dead to spiritual things; and eternal death, or the separation of soul and body from God for ever. Death is represented as a sovereign exercising dominion over the world, for it is said "death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgressions." "Death reigned," says the apostle. The figure is a bold and striking one. It represents Death as a monarch exercising dominion or power. His reign is absolute. He strikes whom and where he pleases, there is no escape. All must bow beneath his sceptre. His reign is universal. Old and young, rich and poor, high and low, are alike the subjects of his gloomy empire, and but for the gospel, his reign would be eternal. The dominion of the gloomy tyrant has been shattered, and death itself has, as our text says, been abolished. Its terrors are abated and its sting removed. We come to consider how, and in what measure, this has been done. What is it to abolish anything? It is to cause it to cease, to put an end to it. Thus slavery was abolished in the British Empire and the United States. Its abolition cost Britain much, and cost the United States thousands of lives and millions of money. This whole accursed system of man-stealing, and all the horrors connected with it, is wiped out and destroyed. So has the Lord Jesus done with death. He has destroyed the stern tyrant by destroying that which is the cause of death — sin (Hebrews 2:9). Thus death was destroyed by dying; by His becoming obedient to the death of the Cross, He broke the empire and dominion of death for ever, and opened to man "the door of eternal life" and His resurrection was proof that God's justice was completely satisfied with the ransom offered. "Who hath abolished death." The apostle here seems to speak in some measure by anticipation. Sometimes the sacred writers represent things which are certain to be done as if they were clone already. Sin, which is the cause of death, has been atoned for, and so death's empire has there received a fatal blow. Every evil habit, desire, and disposition overcome, every temptation to evil successfully resisted, every good word and work, all tend to lessen his power and wrest from Death his dominion. Thus life has prevailed over death so far as the gospel has made its way into the homes and hearts of men. So in various ways and on every side death has been losing his sway, and his empire is waning. Nowhere is the fact that "death has been abolished seen in a clearer light than in the triumphant departure of God's children. Dr. Payson, a little before he breathed his last, said, "The battle's fought, the battle's fought, and the victory is won — won for ever. I am going to bathe in an ocean of purity and benevolence, and happiness to all eternity, Why should I murmur," said John Howard, the noble Christian philanthropist, when ending his journey in a strange land, "Heaven is as near to Russia as it is to England." "My head is in heaven" (said the wife of Philip Henry, the Commentator); "my heart is in heaven, another step and I shall be there too." "Almost well, and nearly at home," said the saintly Richard Baxter, when asked by a friend how he did shortly before he died. And a lady, describing the last hours of that venerable patriarch of science, Sir David Brewster, says, "The sight was a cordial from heaven to me. I believed before, but now I have seen that Christ has truly abolished death."
III. Now observe THE NEXT THING CHRIST HAS DONE FOR US. He has "brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
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: