THE REALITY OF DEATH

Regardless of the culture in which one lives, universally the concept of a human death is not one that brings excitement to our minds. There are those who try to avoid speaking about death, because to them, such a thought is simply too morbid. Others refuse to talk concerning death because they are afraid discussing it will bring bad luck.

Why do humans die? In Romans 5:12, it is written that “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin . . .” What caused death to come into the world was sin – the sin of Eve and Adam. Because of that pair’s violation of God’s will, He cast man out of the Garden of Eden, in His own words, “lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22). Today you and I do not have access to the tree of life on earth, so we die.

In our day, in general, folks are living longer than people of recent generations did. Improved medical practices, discovered cures for some diseases, improved health education, and improved dietary choices are some of the factors which have contributed to man’s longevity. Yet, despite our efforts to maintain our fitness and prolong our exit from this world, one day we will die. Death shows no partiality, as it comes to the highly educated and less educated, to the poor and to the rich, to the ungodly and to the godly. Just before his death, King David told his son, “I go the way of all the earth” (1 Kings 2:2), a clear reference to the universality of death.

It is an unavoidable truth that “it is appointed for men to die once” (Hebrews 9:27). Physical death is part of the human experience. Are there no exceptions to this rule? In the past, there were two: the prophets Enoch and Elijah did not die. When Jesus returns, those who still will be alive at that time will not pass through physical death, but all will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51).

Death is a separation. It is a fact that “the body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26), so at death, the spirit of a person is separated from (that is, no longer in) the physical body. Thus, death is the closing chapter of one phase of our existence: the earthly stage. However, there is an eternal aspect of our being, as each human has a spirit that will never pass through death or go out of existence. “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Some mistakenly assume that their death will come “much later.” The young often give no thought to death, or if death does enter their mind, they tell themselves that they will not have to face such an unpleasant matter for many years. The truth is, life is like a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes away (James 4:14). “But I should still have a lot of good years left.” There is no guarantee of that, is there? Hear these sobering words: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1). The undeniable truth is, none of us knows how long we will live on the earth. Death sometimes comes to the young as well as to the healthy, does it not?

We understand that on the human side of things, once death has transpired, it is good for those who are grieving over a person’s passing to have what we call “closure.” After Sarah’s demise, Abraham declared a desire to “bury my dead out of my sight” (Genesis 23:4). Many take great care to have their funerals well planned. It is a serious folly, though, for a person to give more thought in preparing for his funeral/ memorial service than he does for his death. Why is that? Because after we die, we will face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Being in the right relationship with the Lord so we will be ready for judgment is of far greater importance than planning in advance for a wake or funeral arrangements.

Great multitudes of people are terrified by the thought of dying. Why is that? For many, it is because they are unsure of what lies on the other side of death. The Bible teaches that Jesus came to release men from the bondage of fearing death (Hebrews 2:14). The great news is, by God’s grace Jesus tasted death for you, me, and every other sinner (Hebrews 2:9). Through Jesus’ death, we can have life! Via the physical death of the Redeemer, all can have spiritual life! For the saved, death is a passage into a wonderful eternity. Praise God for it and pass on the good news!

— Roger D. Campbell

Share This: