Scriptures

No Fear Of Death

Introduction

Life is an interesting journey to say the least and as most people will experience, old age creeps up on us, our bodies don’t function like they once did, our parents have passed away and some of the old friends we grew up have all gone before us. We’ve worked hard all our lives and achieved much, made some long-lasting friendships and possibly a few enemies along the way.

Our children have now all grown up and have children of their own and the thought of dying enters our minds with each passing month.

This may all sound doom and gloom, but the thought of dying shouldn’t be a fearless thought for the Christian.

When was the last time to read the Lord’s promise concerning death?

A promise that’s so clear and unmistakable that we’re tempted to suspect that it means something different from what it plainly says.

‘Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.’ John 8:51

Think about that verse for a moment and think about what that short verse means, because when we finally understand what the Lord means here, all fear of death will be gone. And we too with Paul could say and finally understand his words,

‘Where, O death, is your sting?’ 1 Corinthians 15:51

The solemn assurance

Take the first two words, ‘very truly’. It’s always important to pay attention whenever you encounter those words in the Scriptures, because they prepare you to receive something of immense importance. What follows them is never a cheap throw-away statement, but something to be grasped and treasured.

‘Very truly I tell you’

Jesus says. Putting it another way, He says,

‘I give you My solemn promise’.

The Promise

Read it again and listen closely to what He says,

‘whoever obeys my word will never see death.’

But what do those words mean?

Well! Let’s understand, first, that Jesus isn’t saying that whoever believes in Him will never die, because as we all know, physical death is a reality, a fact, which we encounter whenever we watch the TV. News, or open a daily newspaper.

I know that religious history records the statements of strange people like Mrs Mary Baker Glover Eddy, founder of the so-called ‘Christian Science’ organisation, who incredibly and illogically, denied the existence of death, describing it as

‘an error of mortal mind’.

You and I know that death is real, and that, for vast numbers of our fellow-humans, its consequences are very real and often quite overwhelming. No! Jesus doesn’t deny that the believer dies. What He says is that the believer will not ‘see’ death, and it’s the meaning of the word ‘see’, in this statement, which explains what He promised.

‘See’

In the Greek language there are about 20 different words which mean ‘to see’, and which relate to ‘seeing’ in one way or another. The one which Jesus uses in His statement in John 8:51, is the word ‘theoreo’, which, according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, describes someone who

‘looks at a thing with interest and for a purpose.’

But notice something here, the Lord says that the believer will not ’see’ death! In other words, the Christian won’t look on death as being of any importance! The Christian won’t be like the unbeliever who has no hope in death, and who, therefore, looks on death as a fearful thing.

Death means little to the Christian, because they have the assurance of the Lord Himself that it’s merely the door which opens to bring them into the presence of Christ. This is why Paul could cry,

‘Where, O death, is your sting?’ 1 Corinthians 15:51

and why he could tell the Philippians that he had a desire to

‘depart and be with Christ, which is better by far’. Philippians 1:23

And to the Christians at Corinth he wrote that he

‘would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.’ 2 Corinthians 5:8

This is what many Christians have long believed and preached this message, but maybe just coming to the subject of death from a different angle and getting more acquainted with these verses, and seeing Jesus’ words clearer will help us see that we have no cause to grieve when our loved-ones pass through that Door, nor will we have any reason to fear when our own time comes.

I love Jesus’ word and promise in John 14:1-2

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?’

Jesus has in mind here, the temple with its many doors which lead from one room into the next and He tells his disciples that when He dies, He’s simply going from one room into another. In other words, death is no big deal, its like going through one door to enter into another room.

Paul says in Philippians 1:21

‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.’

Our Lord has assured us that death is but a moment’s passage through an experience which we may never fully understand, which brings us into His Dear Presence. Maybe we simply need to trust God on His word and His promises.

The final stanza of the hymn ‘Because He lives’ says this,

And then one day I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Isaiah 53:6

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