To “Die Another Day”–Ready or Not!

#deathisontheline, #dieanotherday, #notimetodie, #hopeevenindarkness

Because of Covid-19 we have been bombarded with the specter of death daily and the ever—present thought that “death is on the line”.  At this point, all of us either know someone who has had, has, or has died from Covid-19.  In the face of this fear, the statistics of dying vary due to Covid depend on any number of variables such as age, general health, daily habits, etc.  Many of us will actually survive this pandemic only to “die another day.”

Whether we realize it or not we live under the shadow of death all the time.  The statistics on death are grim.  It is inarguable that ALL of us WILL DIE—100%–ALL. OF. US.  Death will not be cheated. Believe it or not, at the same time we are given life; we also become subject to a sentence of death. (2 Corinthians 1:9)

We, the people of the world, have long sought a cure for death.  We desire to find the “fountain of life” or the “tree of life”; a formula that will prevent death, possibly prolong the inevitable or actually give us eternal life.  Explorers have searched, books have been written and movies created with this desire made clear.

So, is there hope in the face of the fact that ALL of us will die?  Is there a possibility of life, even eternal life for a world in the throes of death?

Emphatically—YES!  There is One who conquered death and the grave—being resurrected from the grave and therefore conquering death itself.  In Him there is “life” and from Him come “rivers of living water.”  All of the followers He chose except one, his betrayer, came to implicitly believe that He, Jesus Christ, is indeed the Messiah, the Savior of any who believe in Him.  So, what’s the scoop?

The question we must ask is “Why did this guy die?”  The Roman governor presiding over his trial declared him innocent of all the charges brought against him and even went so far as to “wash his hands of this innocent man’s blood.”

So—what were the accusations against Him that brought about His condemnation at the hands of Roman executioners? And why does it matter to me?

His number 1 offense: His claim of being the same as the heavenly Father—namely God.

The religious leaders of the day were appalled!  Jesus said, “I and my Father are one (John 10:30).  If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (John 12:45-50).  Then he had the audacity to heal people from all kinds of sicknesses, diseases, deformities, lameness and even had authority in the spiritual realm over demons which he demonstrated in front of thousands and we have the testimony of different writers claiming the same in the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Thousands wanted to make him king by force (John 6:15), but Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world (John18:36). I’ll get back to this claim later. . .

His 2nd Offense: Forgiving the people’s sins and transgressions. 

Before healing a paralyzed man, Jesus declared his sins (offenses against God) were forgiven.  The skeptical religious leaders scoffed until Jesus healed the man as proof of his power and authority to forgive people of their sins.

There were a host of other offenses, but these two were the ones that ultimately lead to Jesus’ death on the cross.  So, the question must be asked, If Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world, what was His life’s purpose and why did he willingly choose to go to the cross if He, as God, knew it would bring about a horrific death?

God has made himself known to us whether we realize it or not through the world in which we live:  the amazing sophistication of our bodies from individual cells all the way up to its different systems; the way our tides and water cycle work, the orbits of our stars and planets and so much more.

Because God’s very essence is love, he gambled and gave us a choice to enjoy a relationship with him and live our lives according to His ways OR to live our lives independently from Him in the way we believe is right.  Our problems multiply when “my way” clashes with “your way” bringing on arguments and ultimately leading to wars.  Our ways are NOT God’s ways and they do lead to death—not only physical death, but also death in relationships because in and of ourselves we are selfish. We are spiritually dead because we are choosing separation from the one who gives life.  Let this be clear: The penalty for choosing our will over God’s will IS not only physical death but also spiritual death-eternal separation from God and anything that is good.

It’s upon this scene that God intervenes giving us an option to escape our sentence of death.  It’s a crazy plan—one in which God, the Father, is sending God, the Son to be His representative for a time in history to reveal His character and His desire for relationship with each of us.  Part of this plan is a willing sacrifice to pay the blood price for all humanities’ sin; to open a way for each of us to have our relationship restored with God, the Father.

Then even crazier—God, the Son, a.k.a. Jesus Christ picks 12 unlikely guys, not the best educated or well-mannered, to be his closest buds, to hang with him and see Him in action.  They witnessed his compassion toward the masses and his passion to fulfill His Father’s will.  It’s 11 of these guys who’s lives become transformed that became the backbone of the movement transforming history.  And God wants each of us to join up too and live a life that is not about self but about doing God’s will.

It’s a choice before each of us:

Choosing our way is the way of Death: physical death and spiritual death—eternal separation from God, yes, in hell and yes, it and the Lake of Fire are God’s judgment and justice.  Even though it may appear, for a little while, like people are getting away with everything under the sun, there is a time coming when true, unbiased justice will be served.

Choosing to Believe in Jesus Christ as the one who can pay the price for our sins is the way of Life.  He proved he has power to conquer death because he was raised from the dead.  He appeared over several weeks days to his followers and over 500 others.  It was the talk of the town: the earthquake at his death, the empty tomb, the transformed disciples who, having feared for their lives, became bold after Jesus went up into heaven.  If you believe in Him, even though your body may die physically,  you will have spiritual life and live after physical death in heaven.

There is “hope in the midst of darkness” and death.

What must we do have this hope? 

We must:

  • Recognize I, in myself, have lived independently of God and His ways. 
  • Confess my willful stubbornness and the things I know I’ve done wrong.
  • Accept God’s forgiveness for what we’ve done wrong and receive His gift of eternal life that trumps physical death.  This is done by taking a step of faith: believe that Jesus was sent by God to pay our sin penalty. (John 6:6?)
  • Live it out!  By taking this step of faith God declares you are a new creation in Christ—you’ve been born-again—this 2nd time not of woman but by God through the power of the Holy Spirit. (John 3:16-19)
  • Follow Jesus: read what he says about himself from the viewpoint of eyewitnesses in the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  • Discover how the disciples lived out their lives in the book of Acts.
  • Get plugged into a group of believers.  Look for a church that teaches the bible expositionally: book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse.  I recommend looking for a Calvary Chapel or a similar church.
  • Pray: simply have an honest conversation with God.  Express your thanksgiving for the new life He’s given you, share with Him your struggles and ask for His help in living out this new life.  He WILL!

We are living in the most interesting times!  It is “no time to die’ but a time to discover that you can have an abundant life even in the most difficult of circumstances. I’m praying you will discover there is “hope even in darkness”.

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