Why are we afraid to die? Now, I am not talking about the process of dying. The process of dying can be tough and no one would look forward to that. Sometimes there is a long time of struggle. Sometimes there is pain and tragedy. It is perfectly normal and reasonable for us to want to avoid all of that. God built us to want to avoid pain and suffering.
Nor am I talking about the pain our death would cause others. We don’t want to see them suffer.
No, this is simply about dying. Why are we afraid to die? Perhaps part of it is that we aren’t quite sure that what is offered to us by the Lord is as certain or as wonderful as what we have here. We still try to hold on to the things of this life. We are still identifying with the realm of sin and the flesh.
It is always interesting to me how we expect Heaven to be just like here, only a lot better. We extrapolate the things of this world and bring them into that world. But we really don’t know, do we? We have to trust the Lord. And that’s hard. It is hard to leave what you know for what you don’t know. But, in a sense, we have already left what we know.
Those who belong to Jesus Christ are called to live as those who are dead and to die as those who will live forever. Think about that. If we have already left behind the things of this world, then there is nothing we need to release when we end this life. Then we can rejoice in anticipation of the wonderful fulfillment of the glorious life eternal as we look toward the end of this life.
You see, those who have already died will never die again. Christians only die once. When we die to the old life and find new life in Jesus Christ (which is what we did when we were saved), we will never die again.
Romans 6:8 through Romans 6:11
8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
When you and I came to Jesus Christ, we died in the same way as He died. Just as He can never die again, the promise is that we will never die again. When we came to Him, we died to the old life and there is no more need for death.
So understand this: Dying grace isn’t just that which we need in order to die. Dying grace is what we need to live. Pray that you would be filled with dying grace. Pray that you would be able to leave this world behind even during the days you remain here. The more you and I are able to release the things of this life now, the easier it will be when the time comes for us to leave. In the same way, the more we learn to cling to Jesus Christ and enjoy our relationship with Him not, the more joyful it will be in that day when we will be in His presence forever.
Perhaps the one person who understood this idea of grace the best was Paul. He certainly shows his great wisdom in the book of Galatians. As he faced the end of his life, he knew that he had released all the things of this world. All he had in his possession was Jesus and all he ever wanted was more of Jesus. That’s why he could say with joy and confidence:
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Those are the words of a Christian. If I stay I will enjoy Jesus and He will be all I need. If I die, I will have more of Jesus. Either way is acceptable to me. That’s the joy of dying grace.
I want you to picture yourself on your knees. You hurt. You have nothing. You are afraid. Then you see the great and mighty Lord reaching out to you. You reach up and take His hand and, in that moment, you die to what was and new life floods your soul. All that you need is in Him and you hold His hand. He loves you and He will care for you. Everything you will ever need, He will give to you. You are not alone. You are not in pain. You are not afraid. You are full and free and at peace. More than ever in your life, you know you are loved.