Death sounds like a morbid topic on such a joyous winter day. Especially since we just began a new year with new goals and great anticipation for what the future holds. Yet the question is, how often do you consider death and dying? Knowing that death is a certainty, it seems to be for most people the last thing we want to consider. We live in a world where man is unwilling to accept death. It never seems to be on people’s minds until it happens. Until then, we sweep it under the rug, hoping to avoid the inevitable. Yet, I propose to you that in order for you to live, you must embrace death and its inevitability. It is not a question of if but when. Death is guaranteed for each of us at some time in the Lord’s sovereign timetable (unless, of course, the Rapture happens).
The Bible encapsulates life for us in James 4:13–17, where it says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
James puts life in the correct perspective. He sees all that it entails being in the hands of the sovereign God. We have no idea what tomorrow will bring. We are all dependent on God’s grace and mercy when it comes to life. It is He who sustains the whole world — the air you breathe, the food you eat — the whole earth is under God’s sovereign control.
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And then for James to equate life with a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow, takes it to another level. It is much like the steam that rises from your early morning coffee — short-lived, in comparison to an eternal God. The great English preacher Charles Spurgeon rightly says, “Die I must. I may have escaped a thousand diseases, but Death has an arrow in his quiver that will reach my heart at last.” That is true for all us.
Because of the brevity of this article, I can simply say that death is a product of sin. Your sin and mine all have an impact on life. No living soul escapes sin. It is what we often find ourselves doing. Paul says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death....” That is sin’s payment. Sin is the reason there is death. To escape that certainty, sin demands reconciliation. It demands a payment.
The greatest question that we all need to answer is to whom our sin’s payment is going to be accounted. The just answer is “Ourselves,” since we are the ones who have committed sin against a holy God. Yet, in God’s demonstration of love, He has provided redemption from our sin through the gracious love of a Savior. That is why Jesus Christ went to the Cross. He went there to die for your sins.
Did you notice that I quoted only half of Romans 6:23? The rest of that great verse points to the only One who can redeem you from your sin and reconcile you to God — the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It is only through Jesus Christ and His salvation that man can have any hope of escaping the just penalty of our sin, which is death. Believing this truth and repenting from your sins and receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior is the only way you can be saved from death. There is no other way — not good works, not even faithful attendance at church — nothing but Jesus. Knowing, believing and walking in this truth will compel you to see life through death. It will help you see what really matters. It will set you on the path to rejoicing in Him and desiring to bring your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ glory in all that you do.
Knowing that we all will die helps us to embrace each God-given day and to live for Him and love others. Yes, your eternity is at stake. Eternal Heaven and Hell are all that wait for those who die. Answer this question today: Where will you spend your eternity? The answer is based in your repenting of your sins and turning to Him by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. May you turn from your sin. May you receive His grace. May you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Simply pray in your heart, believing and trusting in all that Jesus Christ has revealed Himself to be in the Bible. You will be transformed. You will be able to put death in its right perspective.
Dr. Bear Morton shepherds Christ’s flock at Magic Valley Bible Church, 204 Main Ave. W., Twin Falls. The church has a Christian book store that may be of help to you — open from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, go to mvbibletf.org.
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