We often see death as our greatest enemy. We do all we can to insure against an untimely demise. The idea of death is frightening to most people. We may have a belief about what is on the other side, but somewhere deep within us we feel unsettled and anxious about passing from this life to the next.
We don’t think about death as precious – not to us and not to God – yet the verse above says that the death of one of God’s holy children is precious to Him. Why? Because they have finished their path on this earth. They are freed from the trials and hardships of this life. And because they are brought into God’s eternal presence where they will truly see the One whom they have accepted by faith for so long.
Death is an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26), but it is an enemy that has been dealt a mortal blow by the work of Jesus. Death has lost it’s sting (1 Corinthians 15:55). It has lost its power. Death is no longer a specter to send shivers down our spine – not if we are in Christ. We share in the victory that Jesus won when He rose from the grave. Sin’s curse was shattered. Death’s grip was broken. Believers now view death in a different light – as a threshold into God’s presence.
This is why Paul could write: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” (Philippians 1:21-24)
Live or die, I am in Christ. Live or die, I win. It is not because of who good I have been but because of the goodness of Christ. It is not because I deserve such a blessing but because I have received what God has freely offered.
If you fear death, ask yourself why you do. It is natural to want to be with family. It is expected that you would not want your family and friends to grieve. I’m not endorsing finding a way to check out early. As one pastor said, “I’m ready to die, but I’m not in line to buy a ticket.” But as those who know Christ and trust Him for our salvation, one of the great blessings we have is that death’s stinger has been plucked out. Even if we die, we win!