To this end Christ died and rose to life that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. But God is not God of the dead, but of the living. That is why the dead, now under the dominion of one who has risen to life, are no longer dead but alive. Therefore life has dominion over them and they will live and never fear death again.
This is why Christ descended into the underworld, with its imperishable prison bars: to shatter the doors of bronze and break the bars of iron and, from decay, to raise our life to himself by giving us freedom in place of servitude.
But if this plan does not yet appear to be perfectly realized — for men still die and bodies still decay in death — this should not occasion any loss of faith. For, in receiving the first fruits, we have already received the pledge of all the blessings we have mentioned; with them we have reached the heights of heaven, and we have taken our place beside him who has raised us up with himself, as Paul says: In Christ God has raised us up with him, and has made us sit with him in the heavenly places.
From a sermon by Saint Anastasius of Antioch, bishop.