Are You Afraid to Die?
The word “death” sounds so final when you say it. When, for whatever reason, you consider your own mortality you might feel like some of the following comments: “lately I have been so bothered when I hear about things going on in the world it put fear in me” or “My mind is preoccupied somehow with my afterlife and it scares me” or “Since I was diagnosed with … I have this feeling of fear of death ….”
For some it is the process of dying that scares them. Will it be painful or not? Will it be long or short? Where will I die? Then there is the heartbreak of leaving loved ones.
However what really scares people is the finality of death and going into the unknown. As they have no certainty of immortality, they are continually in bondage to the fear of death. Normally people prefer life in any state, even with terrible pain, than go into death, because they have no hope beyond the grave. The human heart has anguish of mind over this subject … but it does not need to have that!
An atheist might say that heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark. When you die, you’re dead, full stop with no life after death. However God, Who knows everything, says in His Word the Bible, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this …” (Hebrews chapter 9 verse (:) 27). An agnostic might say, “I don’t know where we go when we die. But if there’s a God and heaven is real, then I think I’m a good enough person to go to heaven.” Religious people might say, “I hope that I have done enough good works for God to accept me into heaven.” Fear of death and ideas about an after life are a universal experience and spiritual beliefs play an important psychological role in reducing anxiety about it.
However the Bible says about people “(Jesus 2:9) And deliver (or release) them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15). So the Bible recognizes that people live in fear of death and are slaves to that fear. They have no freedom or comfort or peace concerning death. However God offers hope and deliverance from that fear. From this miserable state Christ came to deliver people. Christ enables them to look calmly at death and know that all will be well.
But what is death? 1Thessalonians 5:23 describes human beings as “… spirit (the mainly God conscious part of you) and soul (the mainly self-conscious part of you) and body (the world conscious part of you) …” Also Genesis 35:18 says “And so it was, as her (Rachel v16) soul was departing, (for she died) …” and James 2:26 says “For as the body without the spirit is dead, …” So death is the parting of the soul and spirit from the body and then the body ceases to function.
Where did death come from? Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” So despite their perfect environment, Adam and Eve were tempted to disobey God and gave in to that temptation. Consequently sin came into the world and with it came death. This is confirmed by Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Death could not have entered into the world if sin had not entered first.
But why are people afraid of death? Some mix up the process of dying with the finality of death itself which two issues need to be understood separately. Concerning the finality of death itself the Bible says, “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law” (1Corinthians 15:56). The sting of death is the problem of our sin. Sin is the wrong thoughts, words and deeds that are in or come from us and we can usually point to someone worse than ourselves. Nevertheless while we have not all sinned the same sins, we have all the same sinned. This brings us a guilty conscience when we consider God Who is holy. The problem with God’s law is that it does not justify us but shows us where we have fallen short and have not kept it. Consequently the strength of our sins is pointed out by God’s law and so we deserve God’s punishment for them. Hebrews 9:27-28a points out when God’s judgment will happen, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.”
But how can the following verses become true of me? 1Corinthians 15:53-55 “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. V54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. V55 O Death where is your sting? O grave where is your victory?”
The answer is in Hebrews 9:28a “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.” This is verified by 1Corinthians 15:3-4 says “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the (Old Testament) scriptures; v4 And that He was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Christ took the judgment for our sins on Himself when He died on the cross, so that those who believe that He died for them, will receive: “forgiveness of sins …” (Acts 26:18), “… peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1) and eternal life, “That whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:15)
This is further confirmed by John 10:27-29 “My (Jesus’ v25) sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me: v28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish (i.e. never go to hell), neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. v29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” What words of absolute security for the believer in Christ as seen in the following comments:
· “My Sheep” so the moment we trust in Christ as our Saviour we become one of His sheep and so belong to Him.
· Christ gives believers in Him eternal life.
· Believers will never go to the judgment of hell.
· Believers are in the hands of the Saviour.
· Believers are also in the Father’s hand Who is greater than all.
“Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you , v14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me” (2Peter 1:13-14). “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent (a tent which would speak of his body being a temporary structure), is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands (speaking of his new body being strong and permanent), eternal in the heavens” (2Corinthians 5:1).
So by God’s revelation to them both the apostles, Peter and Paul, were very confident and glad about their futures being eternal in the heavens and so they were not afraid of death. In fact Paul was inspired to write further truth, when he wrote, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die gain” (Philippians 1:21), “For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:23-24). Paul also said that after death was “far better” because he would be with Christ but realised that, at that time, he was to remain on earth so that he could be a constructive help to others.
You can join the world wide number of people who have lost the fear of death and are not afraid to die, if you will repent (change your mind about going on with your sins) and trust in the risen Lord Jesus Christ as the Saviour from your sins. For the Lord Jesus Christ saves and He keeps His Word. Faith takes account of God and His Word, never of self and circumstances.
Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ can “release those (you) who through fear of death were all their (your) lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15).