Learning to Face Death
Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources
We are victims of our culture. Despite knowing better from God’s Word, we find ourselves sucked into the thoughts and practices of the world. This is evident when discussing death.
On the one hand, the world treats death like a grand finale to a life of self-service (1 Corinthians 15:32). On the other hand, despite its ever-present reality, the world fosters an attitude of ignoring death, as if it comes only for others (Luke 12:19).
Christians, however, know that death is a reality (Romans 5:12). It is the horrible consequence of the fall into sin (Genesis 3:17-19; 1 Corinthians 15:22) that brings death to everyone. Even those who have faith in Jesus as their Savior die because of sin (1 Thessalonians 4:13,14).
The Ability To Face Death Is a Test of Faith
Faith is the ability to believe what you cannot otherwise prove (Hebrews 11:1). It is not a logical conclusion or something learned from experience. It is blind trust. That is why faith is also the most incredible miracle of your life (1 Corinthians 12:3; Ephesians 2:8). It happens not as an act of your reason but by the power of God, working through the Holy Spirit, using His word (Romans 10:17; Ephesians 6:17).
You know this miracle already because you believe in Jesus. You never met him. You never handled archeological evidence of His existence, yet you believe in Him. That is faith.
Facing Death Challenges Our Faith
Some are surprised to find out how calm and collected they are at the prospect of their own death. They are confident of where they are going and are ready to face it.
Others are rattled in their faith at the prospect of death. The ability to both believe and to doubt is testimony to the two natures in all of us — the side that believes and trusts, and the side that doubts and wanders. Even the Apostle Paul spoke of this inward battle within himself (Romans 7:15-25). Even those who spoke with Jesus, heard His words and promises, believe and doubted at the same time (Mark 9:23,24).
It Is Important to Remember That God’s Faithfulness Is Dependent on Him
His covenants or contracts with us He makes with Himself (Genesis 22:16; Isaiah 45:23). Our salvation is not dependent upon our actions but on what He did through His Son, Jesus (John 3:16; 6:44; Ephesians 2:8,9).
This is a familiar lesson but one most important when facing death. For those frightened at the prospect of what lies beyond life, we can, in faith, hear the words of Jesus to one who was dying, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). To the one recalling a life of public and private sins that would otherwise prohibit salvation come the words, “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him” (Romans 4:7,8).
In those closing moments of life, God’s comfort remains: “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39).
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