People keep wondering and asking questions like “why do we die?” Why does God allow death in the first place? As horrible and wicked as death may seem to be, can there be any lessons to learn from death? Have you ever lost a dearly beloved one before? When death suddenly and unexpectedly lays its icy hands on someone that is so close and dear to you, how do you feel? Anytime death knocks on the door of any family, it takes away just anyone without showing mercy. Death has ruined many families, destroyed many lives, made many lives useless and shattered many great dreams. When this happens, people cannot help it but shed tears but deeper understanding of life, mysteries and the will of God will enable you to thank God for the tears, the pains and the disappointments in life.
As a pastor, burying the dead is not something that I like but that is part of my ministerial duties. It saddens my heart to bury the dead at the prime of their ages. I have come across so many cases concerning loss of lives, properties and some huge losses in life. To die may seem scaring and worrisome but truth is, we are all going to die one day, may be sooner or later. To die is not really the case but the life thereafter is what matters. In this article, I will go deeper to look at why we die, why God allows death, lessons to learn from death and other related aspects to this topic. The under listed topics will be considered in details:
- Why should we die at all?
- Reasons God allow the Righteous & Christians to die
- Do Christians Really Die?
- Lessons to learn from death, grief and losses in life
- What are the benefits of death?
- The evil that death has done people. What are the demerits or disadvantages of losing a loved one?
- After death, what’s next?
Why do we have to die at all as humans?
One of the biggest lessons that death has taught me is that we shall not live forever. Why? Because man lost his state of eternity in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned against God. God told Adam and Eve, the day you eat of this fruit, you shall surely die (Gen. 2:17). Adam and Eve disobeyed, sinned and death has become part of the human race. So why do we have to die at all as humans?
- Death is part of the human race: Death has become part of the human race through the fall of mankind. Anyone that is born of a woman shall surely die. Methuselah lived 969 years and still died. You cannot live forever on the surface of the earth. Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus Christ and yet died again.
- Every living being has an appointed time for death. Why do we die and why does God allow death to happen to us? When you get yourself so busy running around doing all the things that you love, remember that there is one particular appointment that no one knows. It could be today; it could be tomorrow; it could be sooner. For it is appointed onto man to die once and after that face judgment – Heb. 9:27. Your appointment day and actual hour with death is not known but God does know the actual day and time. As a result, man must live his life very well, for we can all die at any time.
- There is a time for everything on the surface of this earth. In Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 Solomon said, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die.” Anything at all that has beginning also has an end. Man has a beginning so man definitely has an end and that is to die. Death may be fatal but not final in the journey of life.
- There are greater glories ahead of us: Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 4:17 and said: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” There is a greater, a better and a far exceedingly weightier glory waiting for us in Heaven. The troubles we pass through today are only preparing us for the greater things that lie ahead of us.
- There are rewards awaiting us in heaven: God is a rewarder of persons. Whatever you do on this earth is subject to accountability. There are rewards and there are punishments. There are rewards for doing the work of God and all that you do on this earth serving the will and purpose of God. In the same manner, there are punishments for those who do on the contrary to the will and purpose of God for their lives. You must run the race of life with a purpose and received the reward that awaits you.
- Heaven is our home and we must go back home: Heaven is our home, our final resting place in the LORD. Those who die in the LORD shall make it to heaven but the disobedient and all those who refuse to accept Jesus Christ as LORD and personal Saviour are condemned with the world and go to hell. Read Heb. 13:14-16 and 2 Cor. 5:1.
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Do Christians Really Die?
The Bible says that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life (Rom. 6:23); for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). The soul that sins shall surely die (Ezekiel 18:20) but the question is do Christians really die? Has Jesus Christ not paid for the full penalty of our sins which is death? Certainly, yes. Jesus Christ has paid for all our sins. Christians do not have to necessarily die because Jesus Christ died in our place. As a result, God can choose to translate Christians from the flesh into eternity without passing through and tasting death just as Enoch and Elijah did not taste death at all (Gen. 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11; Heb. 11:5).
As believers, we do not have to necessarily die because Christ purchased us with His blood and delivered us from the penalty of sin which is death. However, the LORD has chosen to delay this benefit until the final resurrection which will be looked at in detail in another post. Christians do not have to die, but they do die in order to have communion with Christ’s sufferings, to experience Christ’s grace, to be made into Christ’s image, to witness for Christ’s glory, and to bring them into Christ’s presence. Let us quickly learn some lessons here about death on why Christians really have to die
- Death is a friend that leads and hastens us to Christ. Death is an enemy but to the believer, death hastens us to meet our Saviour Jesus Christ instead of waiting for LORD in the bodily form. We will see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). No longer will we see Him through a dark lens, but we will see Him face-to-face (1 Cor. 13:12).
- Through death, we witness about the glory of Christ that lies ahead: When people die, we use it as an opportunity to talk about Christ rather and His final works on the Cross. The death of a believer gives us the opportunity to speak of how faith in Christ helps us to die and gives victory over the greatest enemy (1 Cor. 15:55). The witnesses or believers of Christ that die a victorious death will not only go to heaven but are celebrated in Heaven (Rev. 12:11).
- Through death, we put on the incorruptible image of Christ. We are transformed into the image of Christ through death (2 Cor. 4:16). Living in your flesh or body is subject to so many sicknesses, pains and other disturbing issues that makes life unbearable. Death does not only take away our struggles and pains but also give us the incorruptible form.
- As believers, we go to rest through death. When the little girl died, Jesus Christ said she was only sleeping (Luke 8:52). To them that died in Christ, they are only resting from the struggles and toils of this world until the final resurrection day when we shall meet our LORD of LORDS and King of Kings. To them that die in Christ, R.I.P really means Rest in Peace but to the sinners R.I.P may mean Restlessness in Pieces.
Related Article: Reasons God Allow the Righteous & Christians to Die
What are the reasons for which God allows Christians to die?
If we serve a loving and a caring God who loves us so much and desire the best for His children, then can’t He prevent His sons and daughters from dying? Ah well, death is part of the design of God for mankind on this earth. Here, I will briefly talk about some lessons to learn here on reasons God allow the righteous and Christians to die.
- In Acts 13:36, the Bible gave a good account of David that after he had served the purpose of God in his generation, he died. Identifying your purpose on this earth is very critical. The earlier you discover your purpose, the better it will be for you. Do not be surprised if some people die young, they may have finished serving their purpose in life.
- This world is not our home. We are sojourners here on this earth. When the time is due, God will call us home one after the other. When death comes knocking on your door, which home are you going to: heaven or hell? The decision is yours to make to decide where you will spend eternity.
- The story of Job in Job 1 is a critical test of the faith of Job in the LORD and how the believer responds in difficult and worst times of life. Your true faith is seen when all odds hit you in life but not when all things seem okay in life. Apostle Paul asked and said: “When then can separate us from the love of God? For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:35-39).
- When your faith is well grounded and established and become unshakable, you are ready to die for the sake of Christ.
Lessons to learn from death, grief and losses in life
- Life is too short: Life is indeed short. You cannot have all the time to yourself. Today you are here and flourishing and tomorrow, you may be no more. No one seems to have more time in life or little time. God has just given each and everyone enough time that will enable you fulfil your purpose on this earth. To one person, 50 years is enough to achieve his or her destiny while to another person, 85, 90 and even 100 is enough to do accomplish one’s purpose on earth.
- Tell people about the love of Christ upon the least opportunity: One of the lessons I have learnt from death is to make conscious efforts and tell people about the love of Christ and His ability to save them upon the slightest opportunity you have today. You have no idea when that person may die and depart. Sometimes, your timely message can give someone hope and a new life. Tomorrow may be too late. Make that attempt to speak to someone about Christ while you have life now.
- Do good to people when you have the opportunity
If there is anything good you can do for someone then it has to be for the living but not just the dead alone. Do not allow people to suffer and die and only throw away money to organize luxurious funerals for them. All your helps may not be seen but let the person feel your impact and bless his or her life while the person is alive but not when the person is dead.
4. Today we call them the dead but, tomorrow we shall be like them:
One of the biggest lessons to learn from death is that, today we call those who have transitioned into the next level as the dead, dead bodies or the late but today, we shall be like them. The fact that today, you are strong, alive and okay does not mean that you are far better off than the dead. You are still alive by grace.
5. Death ends all opportunities of mankind
The moment you breathe your last and die, all opportunities cease for you. Opportunities are for the living but not the dead. If there is anything to be done and done very well, then it is the living that can maximize such opportunities. The moment one dies, everything comes to a halt at once. Learn to make the best of life for a time is coming that you cannot do anything about life. The story of the rich man and Lazarus teach us a lot about expired opportunities that cannot be accessed again (Luke 16:19-31).
6. Some things are not accepted after death
One of the biggest lessons to learn from death, grief and losses is that, some things are not accepted after death. The moment you die, you cannot do anything about some things. I am sorry, I didn’t know, forgive me and give me a second chance are not accepted the moment you die. These are expired opportunities.
7. Make good use of your time while you have it and the strength
Visit the mortuary, the ICU in hospitals and the cemetery and you will realize that some people died too young. Was death fair to them? The Bible says time and chance happens to all people (Eccl. 9:11). God gives everyone time and chances or opportunities. If you do not make the best use of your time while you have the strength and the energy today, you will later regret it.
8. Your talents are not needed in heaven but on earth
Hear me loud, your talents are not needed in heaven. If God has given you some potentials, gifts, skills and some talents, know that its purpose is to benefit mankind through your usage. If you do not use your talent here on earth, you will face judgment tomorrow and you will not have anything good to account and say.
9. Avoid procrastination. Whatever you want to do, do it quickly.
Make haste when the sun shines. Procrastination is the thief of time. You cannot tell how much time you have but you can also tell how much you use your time to benefit mankind.
10. Enjoy your life on earth
A time is coming where man cannot do anything for himself. One of the biggest lessons to learn from death, grief and losses in life is to have the grace and the power to enjoy what you have suffered to acquire in life (Eccl. 5:19).
11. There is no work again after death. No device in the grave
Eccl. 9:10 says that “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom”.
12. After death, there is judgement
Heb. 9:27 says that “And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment”. Judgment awaits everyone to give account of whatever we do on this earth.
13. Life on earth is temporary but life after death is eternal
Everything in this world is passing away. There is no one thing in this world that will last forever. The only thing that can last forever is the salvation you freely receive here on earth before dying.
14. Death is an enemy and a friend at the same time.
Death is an enemy but it is also a friend. Why? Your best may know and desire the best for you. Your best may advise you and sometimes lead you to where you are celebrated and elevated in life. Death does not only kill people but take them to their father, the LORD of Host.
15. When your time is up, you can die by any means. When it comes to death, it is not a matter of how you die where your soul goes is what really matters. When your time is up, your departure is not really the case but the destination of your soul is what matters.
16. Plan for your exit: Many a time, some people die only for their surviving spouses to pass through terrible troubles in the hands of in-laws and have to put up tough spirit to meet and fight the family members of the deceased spouse. While alive, ensure to write your will, clearly define and register some properties in the name of yourself, spouse or children just to avoid unnecessary drama when you finally die.
17. Your possessions cannot save you: I have seen the rich and business tycoons suffer a lot and struggling to live. Their money could not save them anyway. In life, your possessions can give you some level of respect and all the praises of men but the day you will die, there you will realize that the even the abundance of your wealth is a cause of a sleepless night.
What are the benefits of death?
Can the weeping widow, the sorrowful widower, the crying children and the embittered loved ones grieving the loss of a loved one see any benefit in death? Yes, there are benefits for the believer’s death regardless of how we feel about how painful the loss was. Apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). The death of the believer is a delight in the eyes of the LORD.
The evil that death has done people. What the demerits or disadvantages of losing a loved one?
Death has ruined many homes, crashed many marriages, shuttered many dreams, broken many hearts and rendered some people hopeless in life. Death is a wicked visitor; once it enters your home, it takes away the happiness, the pride and a huge chunk of money spent on funeral and burial services. The death of someone brings lots of trials, tests and difficulties to people but strength comes from above.
After death, what’s next?
One of the biggest questions people seek answers is after death, what is next? Death is not the end of everything. After death, there is judgment (Heb. 9:27). All deaths are never the same. Plane or a bus can have a terrible crash and all passengers onboard died on the spot but all the deaths are never the same. The media can report that they all died from a gruesome accident but all deaths are never the same. Some deaths are profitable while others are a complete loss (Philippians 1:21).
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