Death through Adam and Life through Christ

from the Romans reading plan

Romans 5:12-21, Genesis 3:17-19, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Romans 5:12-21, Genesis 3:17-19, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22

Sometimes, the weight of living this life just gets to us. It feels sticky and scratchy, less graceful and more gritty. We wander into and out of seasons that leave us asking where God is in the middle of grief or loss or emptiness.

A few weeks ago, I lost my grandfather slowly and suddenly. He was tired one day and hospitalized the next. Not three weeks later, he was gone.

In those days between admitting him to the hospital and him meeting Jesus, I couldn’t seem to rectify the fact that what was happening felt so foreign and yet so expected. Death is a terrible reality that we live with, an awful and haunting sort of event that wrecks us. But, as we learn early on, it’s inevitable: death is a part of life.

One night, as I was adjusting his oxygen mask, my fingers combed through his hair, damp with sweat because his breathing was so labored. It reminded me of my nieces waking from a nap, their fine hair damp and sticking to their foreheads. And then I thought of my grandfather as a young boy, running around, playing and sweaty. His mother must have pushed his hair off his forehead, just as I was doing now.

Later, after he was gone, a friend would remark to me, “You know, we labor into this world and we really labor out of it, too.”

One evening around dusk, I pulled him up to a sitting position, and together we shuffled over to a chair by the window. I sat in front of him, asking question after question about his life. The vesper light caught his eyes as he told me about a career of flying planes all around the world for the Navy. We both knew things were drawing to a close. Still, in that moment, I sensed a very real peace. We both did. It was as if we both understood that our bodies may break down, but Christ has given us life that will carry on for the rest of eternity.

Part of me couldn’t believe his earthly life was coming to an end. But another part of me knew better: this is what happens. Sometimes, we live so deeply rooted in our fallen, fragile reality that we forget there is another, better, truer one.

For if by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift which comes through the grace of the one man Jesus Christ overflowed to the many.
– Romans 5:15

When I’m in the throes of hospital visits and errands and trying to make the best of every moment, I can forget the truth. Because of Jesus, life is more than survival or death. It is eternal (Romans 5:20-21).

These days since my grandfather’s death, I’ve been thinking about how, as a Christian, I live a life marked by beautiful disagreement. Even when it seems death is the only option, the life and light of Christ finds a way to break through. Even when 21 shots are fired and a flag is folded graveside, there is still hope. Even as we watched the setting sun one last time together, we saw the beauty in the darkness.

Even in death, grace reigns.


Melissa Zaldivar is a social in the world of academics and an academic in the world of socials. Ever the Enneagram Six, she likes to dream big, talk herself out of it, and then just do the thing already. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Bible/Theology as well as a Master’s in Theology. Her passions include eating Jimmy John’s sandwiches, showing people pictures of her nieces, and nerding out over biblical languages. If you ever need to know anything about obscure Puritanical American history or NASA, she’s your girl.

Post Comments (90)

90 thoughts on "Death through Adam and Life through Christ"

  1. Rose Braga says:

    Through one man there is life forever

  2. Patty says:

    I lost my older brother in September to post surgery infection.
    It was completely unexpected. He wasn’t a believer. My heart is broken. My girls and I have prayed for him, shared with him and loved him for years. He was convinced that Jesus was just a good man. Maybe in his last minutes he called out to Jesus.

    1. Michelle says:

      Patty, I am so sorry to hear that. It’s heartbreaking when loved ones don’t know the Lord. But like you said, we never know what goes on between a person and God before they pass. Praying the Lord will give you comfort during this time.

    2. Ashley Stahler says:

      Im so sorry you are going through this Patty. In different testimonies I’ve heard, one thing seems evident to me, that the God of all love and grace and mercy and comfort and even judgement, that at the end of our lives We will be in awe at His wonder when we are in the presence of His glory! In our human nature, we put God in a box to try and understand Him better, but by doing so we limit His might and power and everything else! Don’t let other human interpretation of God or his word tell you something different than what God wants to tell you. Ask The Holy Spirit to guide you through this and show you more of God. Ian McCormick’s testimony helped me to see another side of Gods character, here is a link to his story
      I used to think that show was cheesy, but there was something in this story that yelled out to me about God’s truth of who He is.

    3. Ashley Stahler says:

      I will be praying over you and your family during this time!

  3. Shari says:

    “Even in death, grace reigns”

  4. Joyce says:

    One act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men!!!

  5. Tammy Bagley says:

    Grace reigns through righteousness and we are righteous through are faith in Jesus

  6. Maddie says:

    I needed to hear this. My grandmother died about three months ago just after Easter. I saw her that Sunday, and then the next day she had a massive stroke, leaving her without speech and movement, but still able to hear and recognize the ones she loved. It felt like a gift from God being able to have the opportunity to say goodbye to her and to have her know how much I loved her. The stroke should have killed her instantly, but by the grace of God she was able to say goodbye to all of us. It’s one of the hardest things we do in this life–saying goodbye to the ones we love the most. But it’s passages like this that remind us that what we have here on earth is just the beginning. That the true joy and love we will all share is to come. It doesn’t take away the grief, but it provides peace knowing that this is not the end.

  7. Kelly says:

    Hallelujah! That even in death, grace wins! Thank you for sharing such a moving story. I can only imagine the smile you’ll see on your grandpa’s face when you get to that better, truer world. ❤️

  8. CJ says:

    This was a beautiful story! Thank you for the reminder that Christ made our stories of love eternal through giving up his life!

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