…but like taxes – we wait until the last minute to plan for the aftermath!
“We are all born with a noose around our necks, and each step brings us closer to our death.” ~St. Cyprian
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” ~Matthew 25:13 NIV
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” ~Hebrew 9:27 NIV
There are other verses and quotes that discuss death, but I believe this is sufficient for our discussion.
From the moment of our birth, we are destined to die! Is that a dose of reality you never expected? When you were a child you never thought of such things. In fact, most children thought they would live forever, because watching television everything just seemed to live on and on. You almost got fashioned into believing in reincarnation, because one character in one show who was killed off mysteriously was reborn in another show. But, in reality, we know and slowly learned that things didn’t work that way. We each learned that death eventually comes to us all, one way or another.
We either have noted, slowly, that our aunts, uncles, and grandparents we no longer with us for those special holiday gatherings. A car accident and tragedy avails itself to a neighbor, a friend, or even a classmate. Again, another empty hole in our lives whether it was a large one or a small one is (and was) for you to decide. Everyone touches our life in some small, but often subtle, way. We love them, or hate them, like them, or just fond of them…but they all add another dimension to our lives.
“Don’t take life too seriously. After all none of us are getting out alive anyway.”
That is a cold hard fact and truth of the matter. Also, you need to give some hard thought to the matter of your afterlife. You know…after you have passed on to the next life. If you believe as many others do, death may not be the end of your troubles…it may just be the beginning of some even worse problems where there is nothing you can do to correct the outcome. Think about it for a moment, Pascal’s Wager while it does not prove God’s existence it does force one to think that if God does, in fact, exist then His judgement and promise(s) of eternal damnation also exist:
“Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) offers a pragmatic reason for believing in God: even under the assumption that God’s existence is unlikely, the potential benefits of believing are so vast as to make betting on theism rational. The super-dominance form of the argument conveys the basic Pascalian idea, the expectations argument refines it, and the dominating expectations argument gives a more sophisticated version still.“(IEP, 2016)
Cheap shot at non-believer? Yeah, probably so; but even the bible tells us to:
And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.~Jude 22-23 NKJV
The unfortunate truth is this, man does not always respond to logic or facts; but man almost always responds to a fearsome problem ahead of him. Everyone knows that death is coming; hence, if it is understood that a possibility of eternal damnation is involved – that in and of itself gets a person to ponder his choices in life. There are those who say that a good and loving God would not sentence a person to Hell. Maybe so, in your world; however, God is carrying out judgement upon all of your choices throughout your life. Sin must be dealt with in a righteous manner with swift justice in mind. God does not want to send you to Hell, but your choices are what determines your eternal final resting spot. God gives you up until your final dying breath to change your ways. Yes, you understood me…I firmly believe you can change up until that final breath, your final heartbeat, your final thought.
While I do believe in each and every step on this chart, it is my firm belief (biblically) that when we are Baptized in Jesus’ name, we are symbolically being buried with our sins
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? ~Romans 6:3 NKJV
and when we rise from the water we are being resurrected with the new man, that of Christ.
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.~Colossians 3:8-11 NKJV
But here is what cinches it for me, that one great promise from Jesus to one of the two thieves he was hung between:
Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” ~Luke 23:39-Luke 23:43 NKJV (see HUNG BETWEEN TWO THIEVES, 8/29/2016)
That was the greatest promise to a dying man. Why? you may ask…well, I will tell you:
- What made one thief better off than the other? Both were condemned thieves, but only one of which believed Jesus was the Son of God (believed), had remorse for his sins (repented), acknowledged Jesus as Lord (confessed), feared and revered God, and his baptism would have to be a spiritual baptism. (Most thieves would stick together, but this one sought…truly sought God’s forgiveness.)
- When was the thief baptized? There was no water on the cross nor would either of them be able to do any physical baptizing;
- By logic and reason you can surmise the following possibilities:
- Jesus, being God in human form (aka, the Son of God) forgave the thief his sins. Very, if not highly, probable!
- Jesus lied to the thief? Is it a possibility, yes; but not likely based upon scriptural and extra biblical writings.
- Jesus was a lunatic? Again, based upon the writings, witness accounts and the extra biblical accounts is highly unlikely because the majority of lunatics do not do things for the betterment of a society, they are more of a bane upon it.
God wants you to be His, once again! He wants you to follow His word, be renewed in the new man and the new Spirit, He wants you to cast off the old man of sinfulness. The only way to do so is to acknowledge your sinful nature, pray for His forgiveness and and a renewing of your Spirit. Jesus did, after all, promise an advocate which He would send to us after He left.
The best Sinner’s Prayer is the one you speak out to God in all truthfulness and humbleness. But you could look on the internet for one or just pray to God out of repentance, sorrowfulness, and lay your life bare before God in the name of Jesus! God Knows precisely what you need before you ever ask for anything. NEED not want!! God Bless you my friends, seeking God is a humbling experience and a prayerful life is a way of getting in touch with God through Jesus by way of the Holy Spirit.
Forever your friend in Christ!
May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!
MK Murphy, PhD, DD