Lord of the Dead and the Living (Romans 14:7-8 )
[For] none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. ⁸For 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. [⁹For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.] —Romans 14:7-8 
We see in verse 9 that Christ is Lord of the dead and the living. For He died for our sins and then conquered death. At His resurrection He was raised to God’s right hand where He reigns as the Lord of the living and the dead.
Why does Paul tell us this? We have here a powerful reminder that our lives are not our own. We don’t determine the course of our life or the time of our death. God is sovereign whether we live or whether we die, and even over how we live and how we die. Christ the Lord rules over our lives. Now that doesn’t mean we understand why our lives turn out the way they do. There are many puzzles and mysteries about our lives; there are many things we don’t understand and many things we have questions about. But we are called upon to put our trust in Christ as our Lord. Our lives and even our death are in His sovereign hand. He watches over us and cares for us.
The death of believers, as Psalm 116:15 says, is precious in God’s sight. We are filled with grief and sorrow when a loved one dies, but if he is a believer, we know that his death is precious to the Lord, that he is precious to the Lord. The Lord hasn’t abandoned him but is with him.
Are you struggling with something in your life right now? Are you going through a hard and confusing time? Christ is Lord. He loves you and wants you to trust Him. If He rules over your life and your death, then He rules over your life today as well. Life may be too much for you, but it isn’t too much for Him. Both in life and death we belong to the Lord. We can entrust ourselves to Him.
What difference would it make in your life today and this week to remember that we don't live or die for ourselves but we live for Jesus Christ?
What comfort do we receive in these verses about our upcoming death? We both live and die to the Lord, and we still belong to Christ even in our death. He is sovereign over how long we live, and so we can be free from worry.
If we look at these verses in the context of Romans 14, what do we learn about how to treat fellow Christians? (We are not to judge them and condemn them if they disagree with us over disputable matters, over matters that the Scriptures don't speak to directly.)
Thomas R. Schreiner is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and associate dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. A Pauline scholar, Schreiner is the author or editor of several books including Romans, in the Baker Exegetical Commentary Series on the New Testament.