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Romans 14:7-9 (ESV):

7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

I see echoes of Luke 20:37-38 & John 11:25-26 in the above passage:

37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. 38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.”
[Luke 20:37-38 ESV]

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
[John 11:25-26 ESV]

Question: What does it mean that Jesus is "Lord both of the dead and of the living"? Does it mean that the Lord-servant relationship between Jesus and the believer continues after death? Does it mean something else?

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Rom 14:8, 9; Luke 20:38; Luke 11:25 is another of the "now and not yet" sets of passages about the promise of eternal life vs the present possession of eternal life now, by faith. To God, who must resurrect the dead at the last day, all people, even the dead are alive because God can and will make them alive at the resurrection.

See appendix below for more detail. Thus, God and Jesus can say (Rom 14:9, Luke 20:38, Matt 22:32, Mark 12:27), God is the God of both the dead and the living".

Indeed, if God were not the God of the righteous dead, He could not and would not resurrect them for eternal life!!

APPENDIX - Luke 20:38

For background see How do we reconcile John 5:28-29 ("all who are in the tombs") with Luke 20:38 ("God of the living")?

Here we want to consider the last four words of Luke 20:38 πάντες γὰρ αὐτῷ ζῶσιν - how should it be translated? The common versions either have either:

  • for to him all are alive (eg, NIV, BSB, NLT, CSB, HCSB, CEV, GNT, ISV, NRSV, etc)
  • for all live to him (eg, ESV, NASB, KJV, NKJV, etc)

Both are grammatically possible; indeed, the dative grammar also allows "for in him all live."

Thus the sense in both cases is the same - people, even though dead are still alive in God. The meaning is, apparently, that because God has a perfect memory of each person, the dead can be resurrected in the last day. Therefore, I prefer the translation, "for to Him, all live".

This conclusion is confirmed by John 5:24, 25 that says that: "Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live"

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