To me, death is a threefold sign:
1. The first sign of death means this world has passed away. The era for each of us is limited and cemeteries are full of people who lived out their era, and all that remains is a marker or a headstone in remembrance.
2. The second sign is that eternity has begun. I realize this is quite simplistic, but it really is that simple. We live … we die … we face God. That is what the Bible says will happen. In this life, we insure ourselves with life insurance policies hoping to give our loved ones stability after we are gone. But many people don’t even attempt to insure themselves against the day they die … they just take a risk in what comes next. However, the greatest gift we can give to anyone is the truth about death.
3. The third sign is found in the main emphasis of Christianity. It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing in the world of religion compares to His story of the empty tomb. This third sign is where we have the greatest assurance and hope that death does not have the final say. Death closes this chapter of our creation, but it ushers in eternity.
The Bible is clear, we live once, but we can die twice:
Hebrew 9:27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.
Revelation 21:8 But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
This is the reality … when we die, we will face judgment. Some have called this the day of reckoning when all things are brought out into the open and all secrets and lies are exposed. This sobering thought is ignored by most people. It is ignored until there comes a death in the family and then we are once again faced with the fact that this life is temporary.
God knows the day of our death. The Psalmist wrote that we should number our days:
Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
This is a reminder that life is short. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you will cheat death … you won’t. Wisdom is knowing death is real and can come at any time, regardless of age or position in life. We all know that death is not just for the aged. It can strike the youngest as easily as it does the aged.
Death is a sign, a significant sign in knowing that God is in control. You can hate God, hate all He stands for, but you will not escape death, and you will not escape God. The simple truth is that death and facing God are almost synonymous … you won’t escape either one.
The crux of the Bible focuses on the story of the Cross. It is the Cross that gives us the courage and strength to stand before God when we die. If we stand before God embracing the Cross of Jesus Christ, we are given eternal life with God. All things have been forgiven and forgotten. There is no record against us that would condemn us. However, those who stand before God without the Cross will retain all the things that God considers condemning.
This is the story we don’t like to hear. We want our God to be lenient and to allow us to sin without consequences. However, with death comes the consequence of a life not well lived. If we live our entire life without making our choice for the Cross, we have made the biggest mistake of our lives. It is only through the Cross that we can claim forgiveness and mercy, and take advantage of God’s goodness by surrendering to Jesus.
Death is a great reminder that there is a God. You will experience death, you will also experience God. Are you prepared? This is the great promise of God:
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.
When you die embracing the message of the Cross, you will never have to worry about what eternity has in store for you because Jesus has your back.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler