April 17, 2014

Death is in Your Future: Have you prepared for it?

Tombstone Death is in Your Future: Have you prepared for it?

by Brian Shilhavy
Created4Health.org

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. For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:9)

There are many important events throughout our life that require a great deal of preparation: marriage, the birth of a child, moving to a new home, taking on a new job or business, etc. The most important event in our life, however, is our physical death – the end of our life when our physical body can no longer support our spirit. It is also an event that we have little or no control over. We cannot prevent it. At best, we might possibly delay it for a short period of time (although even that point is debatable, see Psalms 139:16). Death is a certainty, and it is not very predictable. After our body dies, we go on living into eternity. And yet an event as important as this seldom gets the attention in preparation that other less important major events in our life receive.

So have you made preparations for this inevitable future event in your life?

Unfortunately, we live in a day where the physical is exalted and the spiritual is denied. We have a multi-billion dollar economy built around trying to fix our decaying bodies and delay the most important event in our life. Our culture does just the opposite of what is written in the verses above, which states: “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.” Our culture worships “science” and the visible world, usually denying the unseen world, and ignoring anything in our future beyond the most important event in our physical life – our physical death.

But as we have written previously there is an unseen world, and in that world currently exists two kingdoms: the kingdom of darkness (Satan’s realm) and the kingdom of light, where Jesus rules. All of us are spiritual beings, and currently exist in one or the other of these two kingdoms in the unseen world. When we are born physically, we inherit the sin of Adam and Eve passed down to us through our parents, and are naturally part of the kingdom of darkness, separated from God. We can be reborn spiritually into the kingdom of light as God’s adopted children by accepting God’s Spirit in an act of faith, which pleases God.

So each person actually experiences two deaths in their life: a physical death of our body, and a spiritual death. Those who spend all their energy in this life concentrating on the physical world which can be seen, and ignore the spiritual world, will experience the spiritual death after their physical death. And it won’t be pleasant (see Revelation 20:14-152 Thessalonians 1:7-9Matthew 13:40-42Matthew 25:41-46). But those of us who are born again have already died the spiritual death, because Christ died it for us:

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:3-11)

So for those of us currently in the kingdom of light, we should be looking forward to our physical death, knowing that physical death is a transformation to a better life, just as our spiritual death was: “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling…. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (Quoted from the passage above – 2 Corinthians 5)

In a previous devotional we looked at Jesus’ teaching about our attitude towards our current life in this world, and the principle he instructed us to live by is a principle where we trust God for our daily needs. This principle is stated in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” In relation to the physical body he stated: “do not be worried about… your body, as to what you will put on. Is not… the body more than clothing? … And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Jesus was addressing the physical life, and the physical needs of the body. We should not focus on this, because God knows it needs to be taken care of, and if we spend our time seeking out how we can please God and fulfill his purpose for our life, the purpose for which we were created, then he will take care of all these things, including the physical needs of the body.

But in the passage above in 2 Corinthians, Paul talks about the more important unseen things in life, and he addresses our “spiritual clothing”: “For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

When we die our physical death, which is an inevitable future event in all of our lives, those who have not already died the spiritual death with Jesus and have not been reborn through the Holy Spirit, will be unclothed (spiritually naked) before God. But if we have been born again spiritually and have already died the spiritual death, we will be “further clothed” with a new immortal body in the new kingdom (see1 Corinthians chapter 15 for a lot more details about this.) The Holy Spirit in our lives today is our guarantee of this future event, which allows us to live today by faith in that future event!

So if our bodies are decaying and we have a new immortal body waiting for us in God’s eternal kingdom prepared especially just for us, why is it that those of us walking in the kingdom of light as God’s children are spending so much time and money supporting a “health care” system that has no eternal value?? Why don’t we share Paul’s sentiment as written in the passage above that “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.”? Why do we behave and value our current bodies so much that we are often willing to spend most of our time and almost everything we own during a health crisis to keep that body functioning just a little bit longer? Why do we act like physical death is something to be feared and avoided at all costs, rather than focusing our minds and energy on pleasing God and preparing for this most important event in our life? Why don’t we share Paul’s desire that “we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.”? Is it possible that if we concentrated our minds and efforts on pursuing God’s kingdom and righteousness that most of our health problems would not even be an issue, because God would be the one responsible for keeping us healthy enough to accomplish his purposes here on earth before we left?

Death is in your future. Are you preparing for this event? The first step is to make sure you die the spiritual death before you die physically, so that you do not stand spiritually naked before God on that day! The next step is to “seek first his kingdom” and “make it our aim to please him” in fulfilling God’s purpose in the rest of our physical life here on earth. Yes, death is in your future, and it is a certain event that is NOT under your control in terms of the timing! So readjust your priorities and passions in this life to prepare for this event and your future life in eternity.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

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