There were four deaths that touched the lives of members of the small congregation where I worship last week alone. This affects not only those who knew the deceased, but also the congregation as a whole. When we are faced with death we are often filled with a sense of trepidation or foreboding that makes us wonder, despite our faith, if the struggle to keep ourselves and our loved ones alive over the years has been worthwhile and our faith is shaken a little or even a lot. It is at these times that we need to turn to God’s word all the more fervently to find the comforts and assurances that God provides for the faithful.
First of all it is because of Adam and Eve’s first sin that death exists at all. Before they sinned, there was no specter of death hanging over them, a fear that has plagued mankind ever since. This should assure us that God never wanted death for us, but rather wants us all to live eternally where death is no more. It is because of sin that we die at all.
Jesus said in John 8:51: “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” That is not to say that we will not all experience physical death (unless the Lord comes first), but Jesus offers us eternal life when we keep His word and do what He wants us to do in this life and so we will never see spiritual death, which is the fate of those who disobey God and do not obey the truth (Romans 6:16). This should reassure us as we seek to carry on with our lives, keeping the commandments of our Lord and Savior and our God.
Indeed, Jesus can deliver us from the fate that awaits the unrighteous and the ungodly, which is eternal death and separation from God in hell (2 Thessalonians 1:8,9). The scriptures teach that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and that all who have sinned (which includes everyone) (Romans 3:23) are worthy of death (Romans 1:32) , but Jesus has delivered us from death when we obey Him (Romans 7:24,25). This salvation that we have through Christ should reassure us and lift our spirit in the face of death.
How does He deliver us? Through His death on the cross. (Romans 6:5-11). It is through His death on the cross that we may all be released from the consequences of sin, which is death. So, in this sense, He died once for all of mankind and if we will but obey Him and live lives as free of sin as is possible, seeking God’s forgiveness when we do sin again once saved, we can live on after physical death in perpetual happiness and service to God in heaven.
These and many more such passages of scripture, should reassure the faithful Christian when faced with the tragedy of death, but what hope does one have without Christ ? Jesus has offered His salvation to all, but if we do not take advantage of this, God’s grace, and obey Him, we cannot be delivered from the wages of sin, which is death.
God does not want death for us, but eternal life, yet He will not just give it to us as long as we continue to live unto ourselves a life of sin. We must turn to Him and obey Him in the way that we find in scripture (see Plan of Salvation above and under category). To do otherwise is to court certain death, as Jesus has said, those who keep His word shall never see death, as we noted in John 8:51. The opposite is true for those who do not obey Him and keep His word for they shall see death for an eternity.
Are you keeping God’s word and living for Him and in Christ today. If you are not then the scriptures cannot reassure you and build your faith in the face of death. They will only condemn you and assure you that you will face eternal death come the judgment day if you do not keep God’s word (Matthew 25:46).
Obeying Jesus is the only way we may be saved from the fate that awaits the rest of mankind. Will you take advantage of His salvation and obey Him in baptism, washing away your sins and henceforth walking as He would have us walk until physical death also finds you, as it will all, if Jesus does not return first. Please turn to the Lord while this life lasts and you still have the chance.
To my fellow Christians, I wish all the peace and comfort that comes through serving God and is found in studying the scriptures. Death is not the end for us, but only the beginning of a life that is all goodness and light beyond what we can even imagine in this life, that is often full of darkness, the only real light being found in God’s word. Let us persevere until the end and then we shall know the life that God truly intends for us: with Him in heaven.
May God bless and keep you until next time.