Death can be a scary thing. We don’t know when or how it will happen. Sometimes death can feel abrupt and unexpected, and other times it feels like it’s happening too slowly as we watch a loved one suffer. But understanding death according to God’s Word can rid us of our anxiousness and cause us to lean wholeheartedly on our loving Savior.
Death Because of the Fall
Death wasn’t always the impending future for humanity. Adam and Eve lived in the garden of Eden peacefully, without fear, and with no expectation of their lives coming to an end. They walked with God and talked with him, and there was no sin in the world. They were innocent . . . until they fell. I’m sure we all know the story of Adam and Eve giving into the serpent’s lies, eating the fruit from the tree God had commanded them not to eat. Their disobedience led to sin entering into the world, and the curse put on them: “. . . for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).
The lives that were once innocent became marred by sin and the threat of death in both their finite and infinite lives now hung over them; and by extension, us too.
When we think about death, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and fearful because of our lack of understanding of what comes after. For many years, I was paralyzed by fear of death and the thought of eternity to come. That fear pushed me away from God, when in reality, I should have been drawing nearing to him. Death is a reminder of our fallenness. It’s a reminder that we need a savior.
Death Helps Us to Become Humble
David in Psalm 39:4 cries out to the Lord, asking him to make known to him the brevity of life. He says,
“O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!”Psalm 39:4
When we understand how fleeting life is, it causes us to view ourselves differently. We are frail, and our lives on this earth are but a breath. Not only that, but our lives are a gift from God. He alone knows when and how we will die. When we finally come to the realization that we aren’t in control of our lives, it allows us to submit to the authority and sovereignty of the one who does.
Death Causes Us to Hope
It seems strange to think that something as dark and depressing as death can have the ability to cause us to hope. When we face the loss of a loved one, or if we deal with fear and doubt concerning what is to come during our own lives, we can look to Christ for comfort. In John 11:25-26, we see Jesus interacting with two sisters who are grieving the loss of their brother. In the midst of their grief, Jesus says,
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet he shall live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”John 11:25-26
Now, for those who aren’t saved, who don’t have a relationship with the Lord, there, unfortunately, is no hope for them after death—death, for the unbeliever, is eternal. But, for those who have put their trust in Christ, there is hope.
Anyone who believes in Christ will be saved from sin, eternal death, and separation from him. That doesn’t mean there won’t be suffering and sadness while we’re here on earth, but it does mean that in the midst of suffering, we can have hope. Our savior has authority over death, and he says of his own life in John 10:18,
“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. . .”John 10:18
If he has authority over death, then we can have hope if we put our trust in him.
We’ll face death in this life, but never again in the life to come. Revelation 21:4 talks about this hope that we have because of what Christ has done for us:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”Revelation 21:4
Do you believe this?
The moment I came to terms with this truth is the moment that my fear of death became insignificant compared to the love and security I found in Christ.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18)
Reflection and Application
- How do the following passages offer you hope as you think about death?
- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
- John 10:14-18, 27-30
- John 11:1-44
- Revelation 21:4
- How can having a right understanding of death change the way that we live
- How does understanding that Christ has authority over death give you hope?
Photo credit: Michael Marcagi
Elizabeth is recently married and is from Cleveland, Ohio. She is currently working to be certified in biblical counseling, and works in youth ministry at her church. She has been a blogger since 2017 and runs an Instagram page called Binding the Word, where she seeks to encourage women to store up God’s Word in their hearts, to understand more of who he is, and to exemplify Christ in their daily lives.