Daily Devotionals

Death and Dying

Pastor Steve Ellison

Because of COVID-19, there is a great deal of conversation around the world about preservation of life.  That conversation is a tremendous blessing.  It puts much needed attention on the immeasurable contrast between competing worldviews.  Even more importantly, great focus is placed on death and dying.  Genesis 2:15-17 identifies the origin of death, Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.  The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;  but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (NASU) There is not space here to fully explore the meaning of that last phrase.  It must suffice to simply point out that the certainty of death for every man, woman, and child is the main point and that the death brought on by disobedience would have immediate consequences, longer-term consequences, and eternal consequences.

Genesis 2-3, Romans 1-5, and other passages clearly point out the truth that every human is guilty and justly deserving of death. COVID-19 may have gotten your attention, but it has not changed anything regarding the real issue arising from your certain death and the judicial fairness of your death.  Death is not the end. Please do not disregard Hebrews 9:27, Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment. (NASU)  Death is not ceasing to exist.  Death brings every human being face to face with the Creator and Sovereign Ruler of the Universe.  My study of the Bible leads me to understand that we will be muzzled at the judgment.  Christ will speak on our behalf regarding our relationship with Him. Believers will also face a second judgment which will deal not with salvation but rewards (or lack of rewards).  A book of records of our lives will speak for us or against us for the purpose of determining eternal rewards.

COVID-19 clamors for our attention to be turned to the certainty of death and its very possible nearness.  What does all of this mean for me personally? Is the one who dies with the most toys “the winner”?  Is slowing the call of death the primary goal?  Are good deeds in this life what determines our existence after physical death? Is there a magic prayer I can say?  Those are really good questions.  I know this much: You must be born again.  In the middle of Paul’s great treatise on the importance of Christ’s resurrection he wrote, Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be abolished is death. (1 Corinthians 15:24-26, NASU)  Death is already defeated because the required death has already occurred on Calvary’s cross, but it still claims the temporal, physical lives of humans.  The eternal spiritual lives are another story.

Escaping eternal death requires being in right relationship with Christ.  True repentance and faith are required.  Sin, as defined by God and recorded in the Bible, brought death into the world. The Messiah, Christ, Kinsman Redeemer, God the Son died as the only suitable payment for sin. One who would be saved must repent of sin. One who would be saved must believe in his heart and confess with his mouth that Jesus is the Resurrected (risen from the dead) Lord.  This free gift of eternal life is available to all who will believe.

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