“But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:22-23 NLT)
The loss of a loved one is difficult regardless of the circumstances of their passing. There’s a gaping hole in our heart and life when we lose someone to whom we were close. The agony of separation by death was never God’s design nor His desire.
Physical death was never God’s plan, so, understandably, it’s painful and emotionally distressing. Grief is a process that only became of part of our “normal” life cycle because of sin. The wages of sin is death.
Yet, God in His infinite wisdom and mercy allowed His only Son to experience death – literal, physical death, including a brief, but agonizing separation from His Father – to pay the penalty for our sin and free us from the horrible prospect of eternal separation from God. The word translated “death” in the above verse is defined in Strong’s Concordance as: “the misery of the soul arising from sin, which begins on earth but lasts and increases after the death of the body in hell.”
It is so common in today’s world to create an illusion of what death will be like and lead to, that it’s no longer man’s greatest fear. People are so wrapped up in their own goodness, especially if they’re engaged in a service-oriented profession, that regardless of how they’ve defied God and His heart’s intent, when they die they falsely assume “they’re going to a better place.”
The greatest tragedy isn’t that people die, it’s that they die without a saving knowledge of Jesus. When someone we know loves Jesus, dies, it’s bitter-sweet. On the one hand we’re happy for them. Their suffering has ended; they get to go home to Jesus and be reunited with loved ones and friends who also loved Jesus and preceded them to heaven.
But if someone hasn’t been forgiven of their sins and united with Christ by faith in His completed work on Calvary, their only prospect in the afterlife is grim. God grieves when someone to whom He’s reached out over and over continues to reject Him and chooses hell against His will and wishes.
There are those who believe God is cruel in sending anyone to hell, but the truth of Scripture verifies that anyone who chooses hell does so over the agonizing cries of a holy God to repent and turn from their sin. God sends no one to hell – EVER! We have a choice and to not make a choice to find hope and eternal life in Jesus is to choose!
Imagine you’re in a burning building. The alarm has sounded, and everyone is rushing to the nearest exit. Firefighters are on the scene directing people to safety, but as they scan each room searching to do their best not to leave anyone behind, they find an office door locked and blocked by large pieces of furniture.
Through the glass they gaze into the smoke-filled room seeing a man at his desk, continuing to work as though nothing was happening. They break the glass and frantically seek to create a path of escape, but the man is oblivious to their efforts. By the time they reach him, he’s dead from smoke inhalation. A preventable and wasted death.
That, my friends, is a picture of God seeking the lost, who day after day go through their life as if they will live forever. And the truth is, they will! It’s just not going to be the “better place” they’ve made up in their mind. It’s a place of eternal torment from which they will see and understand clearly what a huge mistake they made . . . but their understanding will come too late.
Fellow Jesus followers, we MUST be about our Father’s business of warning the lost at any cost. Please don’t miss an opportunity to tell a loved one or friend about Jesus. Beg them to listen, and explain to them what Jesus has done on their behalf.
The greatest tragedy in life isn’t death, it’s dying without Jesus as your Savor and Lord!