“This year thou shalt die.”
Jeremiah said to Hananiah, “This year thou shalt die…So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month. I wonder, “Is this the appointed year that I shall die?” And I wonder if this is the year you shall die. I know this. — There is an hour appointed of God at which you shall die and an hour appointed by him, before the worlds were made, at which I shall die.
Death is the time of harvesting in the kingdom of God. In death our Lord comes into his garden and gathers his lilies. Heaven is the granary into which he gathers his wheat at the death of his saints. In the hour of death he gathers his lambs into his fold and makes up the number of his jewels one by one. — “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:16). If it is precious in his sight, it ought not be irksome in ours. If you are a child of God, if you trust the Lord Jesus, if you are in Christ, here are five things which should help to strengthen and fortify your heart against the fear of death.
1. Death is necessary for our complete and eternal happiness. — We must die to be free from this body of sin and sorrow (Romans 7:24). We must die to go to our Father's house (2 Corinthians 5:1-9; John 14:1-3). We must die to be with Christ in glory (Philippians 1:21-23). We must die to be reunited with our departed friends and loved ones who sleep in Christ (2 Samuel 12:23). We must die in order for Christ to see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied (John 17:24).
2. Sin, the sting of death, has been taken away by our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:56). — Our Lord took our sins away. They are gone forever! God will never lay them to our charge. As William Romaine put it, “Death stung himself to death when he stung Christ.”
3. Death will bring us into the full blessedness of heaven’s glory (1 Corinthians 3:22; Revelation 14:13; Ecclesiastes 4:1-3). — Death is not loss to God's elect, but great gain. Our spirits will be made perfect (Hebrews 12:22-23). We will be relieved of the pain of this world (Luke 16:25). We will be given profound rest in our soul (Revelation 6:9-11). And we will be with Christ (Philippians 1:21–23).
4. Death, for the believer, only comes once and is soon over (Hebrews9:27; Revelation 20:6). — These bodies must go to the grave. That is the result of sin. But beyond the grave death cannot follow us. That is the gift of grace.
5. We have the blessed and sure promise of the resurrection (Job 19:26-27; 1 Corinthians 15:42, 43, 51-58). — This vile body must go to the grave to be raised a glorious body. This corruptible body must be sown in the earth to be raised incorruptible. This mortal body, though it dies, shall be raised immortal. This body of flesh must perish; but it shall be raised a spiritual body.
Death is an enemy to nature, contrary to all natural instinct. But it is an enemy that shall be destroyed. And when it is at last destroyed in the resurrection, our redemption, salvation, and victory in Christ will be complete.
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