In honor of my friend Terry who went home to be with the Lord.
Death, are you ready for it?
When someone dies we should reflect on the reality of death. What happens when we leave this physical existence?
"O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Christian life is one of mountains, valleys, streams, and deserts. Times of communing with God and times of reaching for Him. Times of abounding happiness and times of depression and suffering. Times of victory and times of being attacked. But in Christ there is always joy. Because we must be in this world for a period of our existence we are given the Word to revive us, restore us and keep us on the narrow path of Christ.
God’s law reflects His character - He is Holy, He is righteous, and He is good and the source of all that is good.
Why must the law be part of the proclamation of the gospel? Because there is no other way than the law to obtain a knowledge of sin, the conviction of sin, which leads to repentance of sin. Sin is breaking the law of God. Our hearts and our lives must be weighed against the law.
The world is in turmoil. There is so much anger, fear, hatred, immorality everywhere it seems. Everything seems corrupted. Satan is the father of lies and the world serves him in his lies. Those in Christ do not have to be affected and influenced by the world.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer. - Psalm 19:14
There is also so much more in this verse besides the obvious. So many of life's struggles, depressions, addictions, fears, and anxieties can be overcome when our words, born from the meditations and thoughts of a heart filled with and abiding in the love of Jesus Christ are pleasing and acceptable to Him.
So much of what we have in Jesus Christ is missed through lack of faith. So much of the spirit passing from the loving hand of God, through the blessed and worthy hand of Christ is stifled by fear, anxiety, and our compromising and capitulation to the things of this world. God’s grace and love and blessings and glory are poured out to us through Jesus Christ.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is not opinion, theory, or philosophy - it is the only infallible and pure truth, the revelation of the eternal mind of God.
He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. - John 3:31
Just as He was raised from death, we are raised from death in Him. Just as He walked out of the tomb in victory over death, so we walk out of the tomb in victory over death in Him. Just as He lives in us, we live in Him, and by His grace, we follow Him and bear fruit to His glory.
But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. - Romans 7:6
Heaven - what is it like? Who is in heaven? How do we get to heaven?
What happens after we die? Where do we go? What do we become? These and similar questions have been pondered and debated since the beginning of time. Do we come from nothing, spend a lifetime here, and then return to nothing? Are we subject to the concept of Karma in which we die, are then reincarnated and our next life will be based on how good or bad we were in this life? Or, is there universal salvation in which everyone, regardless of what they believe go to a place of peace and happiness, freed from the restraints and suffering of this world?
Let’s consider universal salvation since it is a common belief. Many people feel that regardless of beliefs or religious affiliation, that everyone is doing the best they can, and everyone ends up in the same place after death. But how could all people upon death go to a place of peace and happiness if human nature is there? It doesn’t take a genius to look at human history and the world around us and understand there is something very evil at the core of human nature - this is the doctrine of total human depravity. How could there be universal salvation, a place of peace and happiness after death if human nature has not been dealt with and corrected? Human nature is not physical it is spiritual, and the corrupting influence of human nature would make a place of universal peace and happiness after death an impossibility because our nature would still be a part of us. The evil of human nature would continue to be carried out on the spiritual plane just as it is on the physical plane. So how do we deal with the issue of evil human nature?
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, [he is] a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. ... He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. - 2 Corinthians 5:17,21
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. - John 14:6
The answer to overcoming evil human nature is answered in 2 Corinthians 5:17,21 and John 14:6 above. Because of our fallen and sinful nature we are separated from God who is perfect and holy. We have broken his law and the wages of our sinful transgressions are death and eternal damnation. The only way to be reconciled to God is for our sins to be atoned for and our penalty paid - but no finite creature could ever atone for sinning against an infinite, perfect, and holy God. But there is a way and that way is through faith and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life, then took on our sin and paid the horrific penalty for it on our behalf when He suffered and died on the cross. Then after three days in the tomb, He rose for our salvation. If we repent of our sins, have faith in Him, and trust in His perfect righteousness we are assured of spending eternity in absolute joy and bliss with Him in His glory. Those in Christ are freed from the bonds of sinful human nature - it was crucified with Christ and we are a new creation in Him. We will be in heaven with Him and spend eternity with Him. He is the only way, his word is the only truth, and He is the source of eternal life. How do we get to heaven? Through Jesus Christ.
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” - 1 Corinthians 2:9
Heaven, as we are told in 1 Corinthians 2:9, is beyond our imagination. Our finite minds lack the capacity to conceive or fully comprehend what heaven is and what it will be like. However, it seems there is much to learn about heaven by learning what it is not and what will not be in heaven.
Genesis 1:31 says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” Heaven, and after judgment day, the new heavens and the new earth will be perfect as God created it and intended it to be - God's perfect creation. There will be no more sin, no more entropy, no more disease and pain, no more sorrow, the effects of sin will be gone.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. - Romans 8:18-25
Paul is telling us to have a proper perspective, to look to and hope for the better country that we are promised in Jesus Christ. That is the hope that we have faith in. Think of the pain, suffering, and affliction of this world and then consider that in heaven there will be no tears, no sorrow, no death, no pain, no sickness, no darkness, no un-Goldy people, no sin, no temples because we will worship in the Lord’s presence, no sun or moon because the glorious light of the Lord will illuminate, and no curse from the sin of Adam that we inherited. All of the evil and darkness and sin of this world, everything that has afflicted and caused us suffering in this age – it will all be gone.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. - 2 Corinthians 4:13-18
All that we suffer from and all the evils and sin of this world are but a light momentary affliction, incomparable to the eternal glory that we will enjoy in the Lord’s heavenly kingdom with Him. Considering and meditating on heaven and the truths of heaven give us a proper perspective, lifts our eyes to Christ, and the promises we have in Him.
"You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, The place, O LORD, which You have made for Your dwelling, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established. "The LORD shall reign forever and ever." - Exodus 15:17-18
Even while we are on earth, we can learn some of what heaven will be like from the blessings that we have while we are here.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. - 1 Corinthians 13:12
“To be in heaven is to lean one’s head upon the breast of Jesus. You have done it on earth? Then you know what heaven is. To be in heaven is to talk with Jesus, to sit at his feet, to let our heart beat against his heart. If you have had that on earth, you have had some of the grapes of heaven.” - Charles Spurgeon
Man is born to be a servant and must have a master, and that master will either be the Prince of Darkness or the King of Light, one or the other will be your ruler.
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. - Romans 6:16-18
Audio Version on The Way Radio
Old hymns and Christian poetry shed light on the depth of thought and contemplation of the gospel in God's word in earlier times. In this age of hectic busyness and technological intrusion, it is like a drink of pristine water to step away from the world and consider the words of Christians who lived in quieter and simpler times.
Christian, dost thou see them on the holy ground,
how the pow’rs of darkness rage thy steps around?
Christian, up and smite them, counting gain but loss,
in the strength that cometh by the holy cross.
Christian, dost thou feel them, how they work within,
striving, tempting, luring, goading into sin?
Christian, never tremble; never be downcast;
gird thee for battle, watch and pray and fast.
Christian, dost thou hear them, how they speak the fair?
“Always fast and vigil? Always watch and prayer?”
Christian, answer boldly, “While I breathe I pray!”
Peace shall follow battle, night shall end in day.
Hear the words of Jesus: “O my servant true;
thou art very weary, I was weary too;
But that toil shall make thee
someday all mine own,
and the end of sorrow shall
be near my throne.”
- John Mason Neale, 1862
Chad Prigmore is Pastor and President of The Way Ministry Church USA & Kenya.