Death is not a popular theme, yet it is a reality everyone will experience. Many people live in the arrogance of today … the present is all there is, so today becomes our focus. A wise person will say, “I know my time is short, so I will maximize my time to finish strong when death knocks on my door.” Finishing strong isn’t about making your life comfortable, wealthy, or positioning yourself well in who you are and what you do. There is good counsel in thinking about how to improve your lot in life, but you must also include how to die and define death differently than just being the end of life. Let me explain.
Death changes us.
How you ask? Death is about life that is no longer. It was present and now it is no more. It was present and now it is past. Death doesn’t just happen to just those who die, it changes all those who know the deceased. Something has changed. The life that meant something to us is now in another place, and as a result, it changes us.
Most of us live in the arrogance of the present and this world as it is, is our reality. Today is my treasure and tomorrow will be a new experience with what I have learned today. We experience a new reality of today every day we live. Sometimes, we look at the past as a lesson learned, and we look at tomorrow as a new horizon, but today is the treasure we are secure in. Death is a reality check for all of us. Death tells us that the treasure we have today may be the last treasure we ever experience on earth and that will change my past, my present, and my future forever. Death changes us.
Death releases us to God.
It doesn’t matter if you are reading this and do not believe in God. When you and I die, that argument is over. Death releases us into the reality of God. His world and His kingdom become the new normal and God becomes the most important element of everyone’s future. The Apostle Paul tells us that we here now know in part, which means we are limited to what we see and hear. Someday, death will release us into a world that is unlimited, knowing all mysteries and having clarity about everything.
Jesus said He went away to prepare a place for us, and death will allow us to enter into those preparations. Death is not the end … it is only the beginning. Death releases us into the presence of God and His Kingdom forever.
Death is a new beginning.
We live with so many restrictions here on earth … our health restricts us, our fear controls us, and our disappointments depress us. Death allows us to see the unlimited endlessness of eternity. We are entering the world of God that had no beginning and has no end. There is no guessing about anything anymore because we will see it as it is.
Death is imminent for all of us, yet few think about it. Sixty percent of people do not have wills, and few people talk about death because our treasure of today will not allow that conversation to happen. The reality of not being here anymore is troubling, however, it is only troubling because we don’t know what death provides for us. I think the Salvation Army views death as a ‘graduation day’ … we have graduated to a world without end and where death is no more. So, what does it take to understand death in this way? It is to know the author of life and death, and His name is Jesus. Jesus used death when He came to earth to purchase every soul that ever lived. It was His death that opened up life to everyone forever. As tragic as his brutal death was, Jesus endured it because He knew that by His death on The Cross an eternal life with God would be opened up for everyone.
The Scriptures teach that you die once and then comes the judgment. That judgment is your face-to-face with the Creator of life. The one question He will ask will be, “What did you do with Jesus Christ?” Your answer to that question will become your fate for eternity. You see, there is a second death no one talks about much … it is the death of a relationship with God forever. You will never see God’s Kingdom and the unlimited life in heaven. The second death is a judgment of eternal separation from God and a residence forever in hell, the place of torment. That may sound harsh to you, but it’s only because you have coddled your thoughts and dreams around yourself and your world. The reality is:
1. There is a heaven to gain because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
2. There is a hell for eternity for those who reject Him.
It is simple, quick, and complete.
That is why the Gospel is so important to understand today, in the treasure of the present. You cannot move forward to God’s Kingdom without accepting its provisions for your sinful nature and God’s promises to all those who accept it.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
That is the most important statement in all of life … and it is a decision you need to make today because someday, death will release you to verify it at a time you least expect, the day you die.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler