With the Covid-19 pandemic now reaching over 340,000 deaths worldwide, and 100,000 deaths in the US alone, there is great mourning all around us. On top of these losses, we have also seen the passing of many well known and dearly beloved public figures in recent days - from pastors and teachers, to athletes and actors. We will also be honoring those who gave up their lives defending our country on Memorial Day. It seems everyday, we are reminded of the reality of death in the news. It is something we can no longer comfortably ignore - and it is something we never should have ignored. Most people aren’t comfortable thinking of death, yet it is one of the few things in life that is certain. And it is the one appointment we will not be late for. Instead of ignoring this reality, there are many important lessons we can learn about death. Here are some reflections on death that is worthy of our reflection.
Death is a picture. Physical death is a picture of the power of sin that can destroy a life. Death is a reminder that life is short. Life is fragile. And life is fallen. Therefore we need a savior. And we need to be reminded of this time and time again, so we don’t get blinded by the lull of this world that tries to keep us from thinking about the eternal significance of our choices. There are many kinds of death in our world. There is the death of a friendship or a relationship that can feel just as painful as a physical loss of a friend. There is the death of a dream or a death or a job (which many have experienced during this pandemic too).
Death is to be mourned. Toward the end of his life Rich Mullins said, “I think we cry at funerals—even at funerals of people we don't like—because we realize what a miracle a life is. You realize, ‘This will never happen again.’ There will never be this exact combination of genes, there will never again be the things that have created this person to be what he is. God has spoken uniquely here, and it's gone. It's over. And I think there's some regret, because we all realize, boy, we didn't pay enough attention.”
Death must be prepared for. Jonathan Edwards had as one of his life resolutions to focus on this topic: #9: Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death. He resolved in his life to think as much as he could about his own death so that he would be ready to die, then he would be ready to live properly now. Only when you’re ready to die, are truly ready to live in this world. If you’re not ready to die, you’re not really living. Because if you’re not ready to die, you’re going to be living for the wrong things. We must remember that our spiritual status is sealed forever at death. Those who have repented and turned to Christ: you are sealed and secure forever. Those who have rejected Christ and hardened your heart towards Him: you will be sealed and condemned. We will be in an unchangeable state from that moment on: either forever a saint or forever a sinner.
Death is a doorway to our eternal dwelling. But in Christ, the doorway to destruction has now turned into the gateway to glory for the people of God! Death, which is the last enemy, is now Christ’s servant. Death serves as a servant to Jesus - bringing God’s children home. Are you ready? Let’s live ready - ready to walk through the gateway to glory.
[These reflections are portions of a sermon entitled “Lessons on Death”. To hear the sermon in its entirety, click here]