Some people are deathly afraid of death. They do all they can to avoid death. The goal of their life is to not die. But living to avoid death is no way to live. The author of Hebrews calls this being a slave to the fear of death (Heb. 2:15). Furthermore, such a fear of death often reveals an idol: life. The person who is terribly afraid of death often idolizes life. They go hand in hand.
But the Christian need not fear death. The Christian isn’t living to avoid death at all costs. For the Christian, death has lost its sting because of Jesus’ resurrection (1 Cor. 15:55-56). Death cannot separate a child of God from his or her sovereign Father (Rom. 8:38-39). For the Christian, death is not loss, but gain (Phil. 1:21). Those who trust in Christ will be raised on the last day and live forever in the new creation (John 6:44; 2 Peter 3:13, etc.).
The Bible says a lot more about what death means for followers of Christ. I was thinking about this earlier today when I read Thomas Manton’s sermon on Romans 8:10 (But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. NIV) Here is a paragraph from Manton’s sermon that is quite comforting:
[One end and use of death is] to finish transgression and make an end of sin. We groan under the burden of sin while we are in our mortal bodies (Rom. 7:24). But when the believer dies, death is the destruction of sin rather than the destruction of the repentant sinner. The veil of the sinful flesh is rent, and by the sight of God we are purified all in an instant. And then sin shall gasp its last, and our Physician will perfect the cure which he has begun in us and we shall be presented faultless before the presence of God.
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54105