How Should We As Christians View Death?
None of us knows our future but we do know God holds our future and us in his hands. Death is no different, no Christian is taken by the enemy in death, only unbelievers are. If we have been rebirthed by Christ's life then all of our names, as well as our days are written down in "the Lamb's book of life."
"For we know that if our earthly house, this tent (our physical body), is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house (a spirit body) not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven," (2 Cor.5:1-2)
As the Psalmist writes in Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints (believers)." Instead of hanging on tenaciously to this life we need to loosely hold it, as we should everything we have. Because our name is on the roll at our real address. That is where our heart should be. Jesus said store up treasures for heaven not earth. By accepting Gods hand on us in our trials we are doing just that.
Paul here proclaimed to the church as his view on dying... as gain and ultimately being better.
"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 23 For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ (in heaven), which is far better. (Philippians 1:22)
The purpose for our sufferings is to know Him in a greater way.
"that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His (Christ's) sufferings, being conformed to His death," (Philippians 3:10)
Suffering is mostly foreign to the Christian lifestyle today in America, but it was a way of life to the early Church. The phrase"fellowship of His sufferings" sound strange. How can one have intimate relationship around suffering? Its by partnering together with Him in our living, then we will receive strength now through the trials and the outcome of the resurrection later. Without it we can't know Him and we certainly can't realize His resurrection power that dwells within us, in our spirit. By participating in suffering we can understand how Christ felt, Him who had no sin. He struggled in His humanity to be perfected and yield to the Father's will. We then can yield to His will and experience of Christ's power by means of enduring sufferings.
Jesus said in John14 Jesus said He was going to prepared a place for His Israelite believers, that where He is they may be also.
Some of us who are members of "the body of Christ" may leave to enjoy it sooner than others, but as Christians we all have flight reservations to the same destination. We will all be Raptured to heaven - some of us from the dead and some of us while we are yet physically alive on earth. This should be great comfort to all genuine believers.
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (those believers who have died), that yesorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive andremain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (go before) them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
We as believers can look forward to the day of our going home with great expectation.
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written,Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:51-57)
We can be assured that, as it says in Psalm16, in His presence "Is fullness of Joy." If we experience momentary joy now, imagine what it will be like later. Here David expressed his desire for eternal union with the Lord.
"One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple." (Psalm 27:4)
Oh to behold Him face to face, in His manifested presence is "fullness of joy." That day is coming for all of us, lets make sure we understand the end form the beginning, having confidence in that eternal hope.
What looks like a defeat in your life, can be made into Gods greatest victory. We can't fathom the ways God uses the things of earth in our lives. What looks like failure can bring out the greatest success given time. By faith, trust we apprehend his ways, we can wholly trust ourselves into his hands. Because our relationship to our perfect heavenly father is operated by his love. We see through a glass darkly now, but one day we will see face to face.
"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." (Col. 3:4)
That is a promise and you can bank on. Nothing in the economy of God is wasted, it has purpose and eternal value. One day we will thank God in heaven for our trials on earth. Until then lets learn to accept His will for us and to endure all that life has for us, in faith... knowing He is "the rewarder of those who diligently seek him" in times of peace, as well as in times of adversity.