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The Last Enemy


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The last enemy that will be abolished is death. —1 Corinthians 15:26

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The last enemy—death. We see that there are still many enemies that resist Christ, and obstinately oppose his reign. But death will be the last enemy that will be destroyed. Hence Christ must still be the administrator of his Father’s kingdom. Let believers, therefore, be of good courage, and not give up hope, until everything that must precede the resurrection be accomplished. It is asked, however, in what sense he affirms that death shall be the last enemy that will be destroyed, when it has been already destroyed by Christ’s death, or at least, by his resurrection, which is the victory over death, and the attainment of life? I answer, that it was destroyed in such a way as to be no longer deadly to believers, but not in such a way as to occasion them no uneasiness. The Spirit of God, it is true, dwelling in us is life; but we still carry about with us a mortal body (1 Peter i. 24). The substance of death in us will one day be drained off, but it has not been so as yet. We are born again of incorruptible seed (1 Peter i. 23), but we have not yet arrived at perfection. Or to sum up the matter briefly in a similitude, the sword of death which could penetrate into our very hearts has been blunted. It wounds nevertheless still, but without any danger; for we die, but by dying we enter into life. In fine, as Paul teaches elsewhere as to sin (Rom. vi. 12), such must be our view as to death—that it dwells indeed in us, but it does not reign.

Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XX, Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Baker Books, 2009), 2:28–29.



Posted 2020·01·09 by David Kjos
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Posted in: 1 Corinthians · Calvin’s Commentaries: 1 Corinthians · John Calvin

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