Archive for May, 2011

Why Do Christians Fear Death?

Friday, May 20th, 2011

I am surprised at the fear of death that seems to prevail in the Christian community.  Why should death have any hold on a true believer?  Christ conquered death on the cross, and our life in this world cannot even be compared to the glory that awaits us on the other side.  Acts 20:24 says, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—-the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” 

Yet, my own mother, who was rock-solid in her faith in Christ, lay on her deathbed and suddenly became scared of death.  Although a strange phenomenon for a believer, it could be that this is a natural tendency of our flesh, perhaps not so much fearing what’s on the other side, but being afraid of the transitional experience of death itself–from a temporal existence into an eternal one. 

A recent 60 Minutes episode reported on an Afghan spy named Amrullah Saleh, who performed many dangerous missions against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban throughout the Mideast.  He’s under constant threat of assassination.  Yet, he says, “If they kill me, I have told my family and my friends not to complain about anything…”  When asked if he was worried about his own survival, he said, “No, there is a cause, and if the pursuance of that cause I embrace death, it will be a dignified death.” 

Regardless of Saleh’s faith, we Christians can learn from this wise man.  His comments are quite analogous to the Christian experience.  Our death should be viewed as our final earthly experience that brings glory to God, and we should rejoice in it, and complain about nothing.  This is true for every believer, and for all of his loved ones whose time has not yet come.  We should welcome death–not to the point of suicide, of course, because only God is to decide how many days we should live on this earth. 

Indeed, “… there is a cause…”  A believer’s cause is to bring glory to God by following Jesus Christ, in this life, and into eternity.  And when, “… in the pursuance of that cause, I embrace death, it will (indeed) be a dignified death,” and one that glorifies God.

The Most Important Bible Verse for Believers

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

It could be said that John 3:16 is the most important Bible verse for unbelievers.  After all, what’s more important than understanding the gospel message–that eternal life with God is possible through the saving blood of Jesus Christ?  However, if that’s true, then what’s the most important Bible verse for believers–those who have already experience the saving grace of Christ Jesus?

The most important Bible verse for believers could well be 1 John 1:9, which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Although a believer’s eternal fellowship with God is never in question, his temporal fellowship can be quite volatile while still in this fleshly life.  We can think of this as two concentric circles where the outer circle is our eternal fellowship, and the inner circle is temporal fellowship.  Upon salvation, we’re moved from outside both circles to within the inner circle, where we can bring the ultimate glory to God through our spiritual gifts.  At this point, we will never move outside of the outer circle again.  However, in our daily walk, we can still sin, and sin can knock us out of the inner circle.

So, if we have eternal salvation, yet sin is keeping us from the ultimate experience of daily fellowship with God, we have a problem.  How can we get back inside the inner circle?  1 John 1:9 gives us the answer.  We must simply confess those sins which have formed a temporary barrier.

So, what’s the deal with confession?  What does it mean, and who do we confess to?  We simply admit to our sins by naming them to God.  This clears the way, and we’re immediately back in temporal fellowship with Him.  In addition, there are further benefits for us:

Regular confession can actually help us to sin less.  It’s like weighing every day–we subconsciously turn down those desserts because we know that we will be weighing again tomorrow (by habit).

Confession also helps us to avoid depression, without those lingering unconfessed sins hanging around to cause guilt (another sin).

Finally, confession renews our liberty.  We restore the freedom of our salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord.