A message for fellow saints of God on how our lives & our crossing over to eternity are both focused on Christ. It used to be in the 19th century & before, when America was a “Christian nation” that the 1651 classic by Jeremy Taylor “’The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying (London: R. Royston, 1651…& reprinted countless times) was widely read. People were ready to face what they called “the Good death” & meet their Maker. They were skilled in the art of the good death. By “Good Death” they meant a sacred crossing over to meet their Creator God. This lines up with what the Apostle Paul wrote: “For me to live is Christ, & to die is gain.”(A) Our modern non-Christian culture, although infatuated with death & skulls, tries to avoid the issue.
AN UNEXPECTED DEATH. Recently, a brother in Christ lost his father suddenly. He asked me: “Any words or Bible passages you might recommend since I am 1) grieving and 2)not sure what religion he was. He had drifted away from the faith of his childhood…”
MY REPLY: “There are several that come to mind. The first is ISA 49:13b: “For the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted.” Christ said as quoted at MT 5:4, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” And finally 2 COR 1:3,4: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” Sorry about you loss. By these verses, I understand that God will have as much mercy on your father as possible. God will use our suffering and our grief to provide us with a ministry to help comfort others.”
BROTHER’S RESPONSE: “Fritz thank you so much for your prompt and thorough response because these verses are immensely helpful for me and my family! I sincerely appreciate it and will read your message to my wife as well. Very, very much appreciated!… First thing I saw all week that made me smile.”
BOTH OUR LIVES & DEATHS ARE FOCUSED ON CHRIST. “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”(B) What does this teach us today?? It means that we don’t live in fear focused on self-preservation. Sure it is prudent to prepare for disasters, but after doing what one prudently can, then one focuses on Christ—not self-preservation. The self-centered life is not the spiritual life of peace. Let us not join the walking dead. “For to be carnally minded is death: but to be spiritually minded is life & peace.”(C) Let us continue to be ambitious to know Christ & to love our fellow man. If we can truly love our fellow man, it removes the fear, for it is harder to fear what you truly love.
THE RIGHTEOUS CAN DIE WITH HOPE (D) “Precious in the sight of YHWH is the death of his saints.”(E) “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…their works do follow them”(F) Their lives speak to us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is an example. The saints live in an evil ever changing World. Death fixes their state, where they join their unchanging Creator. They no longer have to deal with a world that exists in wars & rumors of wars. Our nation has entered a time period where it matches Nazi Germany in 1939 prior to WW 2. May Dietrich Bonhoeffer speak to our generation and inspire others like him. If we, like Bonhoeffer, never lose faith in God, He will transform our defeats into victories. May He transform our enemies into something better.
(A) PHIL 1:21 (B) ROM 14:8 (C) ROM 8:6 (D) PRV 14:32 (E) PS 116:15 (F) REV 14:13