I have stared at death three times. Once as a child looking at the face of another child. The first little baby I remember holding as a little girl and now my mother was holding me so I could look into her coffin. The second time was at the face of a precious little one whose eyes never saw earthly light. And the most recent time I looked death in the face was of a man whose long life suddenly felt short. The term “the shadow of death” is truly fitting. One moment light the next darkness. Some shadows give warning of the coming darkness, others do not, but instead slam us with their suddenness.
The sight of death is gripping, making it’s beholder stare into the face of how quickly and easily every soul’s fate is sealed. You hope that what you know to be true will prove false, but time shatters these imaginings.
Spurgeon said “Where death finds you eternity will leave you.” Where would death find you if it came as you were reading this line? It could come now, don’t deceive yourself into thinking it couldn’t.
“No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death.” ~Ecclesiastes 8:8a ESV
It has been said that we should devote 10 minutes of our day to the contemplation of death. Through the lens of death we can more clearly see the significance of both this life and the next. We can see more clearly the people who are walking along with us. And it can drive us to search the scriptures for a view of the Eternal God and the truth He has revealed.
“And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.’” ~Revelation 21:6-8 ESV
To the lost and doubting the contemplation of death may not be pleasant but I beg you to do it. Any unpleasantries now will not compare to what is to come. And if unpleasantness now saves you from horror later will that not be worth it? Remember your shadow may not give warning of it’s coming. “When you are in good health any form of religion may satisfy, but a dying soul wants more than sand to rest upon. You will want the Rock of Ages. Then let me assure you, that in light of the grave, all confidence, except confidence in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, is a clear delusion.” ~Spurgeon
You are in a dying body with a dead soul in need of resurrection.
Every man sins and sin is falling short of the commandments of our Creator. Our just punishment for sinning against the Holy God is the second death, the lake of fire, separated and tormented for eternity. But “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ~1 John 4:9-10 ESV
Christ died so that sinners will not, He was the propitiation or the appeasement of the wrath sin deserves. He absorbed the wrath His people had earned. Will you surrender and become one of His people? Because of His ransoming death those who entrust their souls and lives to Him will not die the second death, instead they will be ushered into life, glory, and peace forever.
“He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’”
~Isaiah 25:8-9 ESV
To the Christian I wish to ask this. In resting in our own salvation have we become deaf to those daily perishing around us? Then let us contemplate the coming death of all those we walk among and treat them as what they are, souls who will very soon stand before either their Father or their Judge. Let us contemplate our own death and strive to be found as good and faithful servants to our Lord. And above all let us contemplate Christ’s death and let His love spur us on to truly love others. Let us pray that God will give us His passion for the lost and His strength to act upon it. To God be all glory both now and forever.
“Some were fools through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!”
~Psalm 107:17-22 ESV
In Christ alone