"Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death...that is, the devil...and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." (Hebrews 2:14,15 NIV)
Death. Is it termination or transition? Many of us are held in slavery all our lives by the fear of death. We are always uncomfortable with the unknown. Death is an unknown we will eventually have to experience first-hand to comprehend.
Agnostics, atheists and humanists doubt or refute that God exists; therefore, they believe all life stops at death. Hinduism and its offshoots believe in the transmigration of souls, or continuous rebirths (reincarnation) until one reaches nirvana or eternal bliss. This is the law of Karma. Good karma or good works is the way a person is delivered from the cycle of rebirth. Bad karma results in a person being reborn in a lower form than the previous life. Thus, salvation is based upon works.
Every disciple knows the Bible states in Titus 3:5, that salvation is not based upon righteous deeds (works), but rather according to God's mercy (grace). Suffering in this life for an unknown sin in a previous life isn't likely to reform a sinner. Also, it is not a good demonstration of God's grace.
What does the Bible say about death? Jesus never spoke of His forthcoming death without including His forthcoming resurrection. So far as He was concerned, the two were inseparable. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul deals specifically with death and resurrection. Jesus was the first to experience resurrection and, in the process, He conquered death and hell.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life." (John 6:47)
Though all mankind must enter the valley of death, believers pass through it to that eternal dimension where there shall be no more death. Our spirits go on after the death of our flesh. Only the flesh dies. The disciple understands that and nurtures his spirit instead of his flesh.
Naturally, the flesh does not want to die. If we give it dominion, it will raise a big fuss at the point of death. On the other hand, if our spirit has dominion and the flesh has been progressively crucified, there will be less flesh to die at the point of death; therefore, less dying to take place. Our spirit will simply step across the threshold to take up residence in heaven.
However, there is a condition. It is our choice whether our spirit goes to be with Jesus to share eternal life with Him, or to hell to be tormented eternally by Satan. It is a simple decision to accept Jesus as our Savior and to make Him Lord, but few have really done it, even some who call themselves Christians.
Jesus confirms, in Matthew 25:46, that there is eternal punishment as well as eternal life. And in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, we find that eternal destruction includes separation from the presence of God and from the glory of His power.
Awareness of that moment of transition should motivate each of us to continually reevaluate our relationship with our Lord. We determine our eternal destiny during our lifetime. Choice is always in our hands.
When we understand that our spirit is indestructible, we should do everything in our power to give priority to the spirit rather than to the flesh. There should be continual transformation in this life as we prepare ourselves for eternity. Death is not introduction to a second chance, it is confirmation of the first chance, the chance to experience direct fellowship with God.
To the natural man, death is the normal outcome of life. But the Bible tells us it is abnormal, a thing to be circumvented by the believer. Jesus made a declaration based upon His exclusive knowledge:
"Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:1,2)
This is reassurance from the One who greets us that glorious moment when we escape this capsule of time and are transported into the heavenly kingdom. Paul states emphatically in 1 Corinthians 15:55, the sacrificial act of Jesus Christ caused death to lose its sting. We need to ask God to impart the truth of these words into our hearts, so that our last second in time, whenever that might be, will be one of ecstatic victory!
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: Do I believe completely that my spirit is eternal?