Ecclesiastes 9:2-6: “It is the same for all, since the same events happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and to the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and who swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for the living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.” We all share the same fate. Unless the Lord comes first, we will all face death. For some, death comes in their youth- a tragic accident or a deadly disease. Others will live out a long and fruitful life dying quietly in their sleep. None of us know how or when death will take us but we all know it will- “For the living know they will die…”
Death is something that man has always feared. For those without faith and belief in God death represents an unknown. “What will happen when I die? Is it the end or is there life after death?” These are questions that, if given enough time, everyone considers at some point in their life. As time passes the prospect of death becomes more and more real. The recognition that a stage of life, such as childhood, has passed will bring the realization that the current stage of life will also pass, and so will the next. Even if blessed with a healthy life, old age will eventually pass and we will draw our last breath.
But death is truly just a transition. God has created us as eternal beings. Though our physical bodies will return to the dust from which they came, the life God breathed into us will continue. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the only threat death represents to man is an end to the opportunity to have sins forgiven. Those who have given themselves to Jesus Christ and have had their sins washed away by His blood have no reason to fear death.
Hebrews 2:14, 15- “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he [Jesus Christ] himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”
Jesus’ sinless life, His death and His resurrection enables us to live without the fear of death. We can live our lives in the freedom of knowing that a rich award awaits us if we continue to serve God. In this we realize that death represents freedom. A Christian’s last breath is a release from a life of sin, pain and suffering. Paul, writing from jail proclaimed, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain…” and then expressed his “…desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better (Philippians 1:21-23).” Not only did Paul not fear death but he yearned for death.
In fear, most of the world will attempt to ignore the prospect of the death. Even with the knowledge that death is certain they will put off thoughts of death for as long as they can. They find it uncomfortable to meditate upon because of what it represents. On the contrary, the attitude Paul possessed about death is a beautiful example for Christians. Paul embraced death. The thought of death was not something he feared but was something of great comfort.
“For the living know they will die…” When you think about death what is your reaction? Do you feel comfort or do you feel fear? In either case, don’t run from the thought of death. If you feel comfort, rejoice in the Lord. If you feel fear, consider why.