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. Catherine Smith says:

    This is beautiful and exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you!

  2. Kelsey De Ruyter says:

    Grace always reigns

  3. Stephanie Theel says:

    “Because of Jesus, life is more than survival or death. It is eternal.”

    Wow! A beautiful reminder I needed this morning! There is so much more we live for than the daily grind. There is a Kingdom. There is a Savior. There is an eternity. And it is here among us.

    Luke 17:20-21
    20 “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

  4. Steph C says:

    “Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (5:17). I love the imagery of “the overflow of grace”. As if God pours out grace faster than we can take it in. He loves to give His grace. Not to encourage us to sin more! But to show that we can never be beyond the reach of His grace. We can never be too far gone. His grace is abundant and free – conquering sin and death. Life wins!

  5. Doris says:

    Death, the next chapter in the book of life. This book never ends for eternity awaits us. My baby brother made his transition into the presence of God almost two years ago and my peace has been knowing that he is literally in the presence of God. I’m learning and often say to my self to welcome death and don’t fear it. For to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord. Let’s believe the whole Bible. I would challenge believers to do a study on death and see just how many of the writers of this word felt about dying. Paul said it is much better to be with the Lord. There is an answer for spiritual and physical death, His name is Jesus. Praise God forevermore!

  6. Jennifer Greer says:

    Such a beautiful picture of the sorrow and joy.

  7. Kiersten Williams says:

    I haven’t been impacted quite some time by reading truth. I’ve been in a season of a drought it feels for 3 years. And nothing has hit me so hard in 3 years as reading the line “I live a life marked by beautiful disagreement”. Wow. I was so so close to my grandfather and lost him almost the exact same way 3 years ago, and I have truly not heard such beautiful and deeply true words about death. Thank you for not sugar coating losing someone/or going through hardships in life with Christianese plain statements but really diving in to the truth that this is really a beautiful disagreement. Even though death exists and it hurts like hell, we can see the light. I’m so incredibly thankful and will carry this for the rest of my days.

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