Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Truly, fear stalks us all of our lives. We either face it or flee it. I am a ‘flee-er”. When the option is either fight or flight, I run as fast as these old legs will carry me. It is my nature. Regardless of what one overcomes in this life, there is always the ever present promise of death. It cannot be avoided. Sin is here. We will die. The end will come and we will face this passage, a passage shrouded in mystery for it carries with it a dark element of the unknown. We’ve never actually talked to someone on the other side of death. There are many theories about what happens after we die; yet, no one truly knows experientially what happens except those who have experienced it and they simply do not make themselves available to us. It’s frustrating.
Death draws closer every day. It is a creeper. Our failing memory reminds us. Our aching bones taunt us. Our stiffening joints and failing eyesight hint at its pending arrival. Daily we are wasting away. The outer man is in a state of degradation until finally the body dies. Consciousness associated with the body stops. The end arrives. It’s scary. Face it. Even the strongest man I ever knew who raised me as my dad, my 6’5” 200 lb. brother, trembled in the face of it. He knew where he was going. He trusted in Lord Jesus; yet, as cancer gripped his body and rushed him out of this world, he entrusted me with his fear of this unknown. I simply could not fathom my brother Benge fearing anything. A new respect for the passage of death was born in me that day.
What a morbid blog. Be encouraged, you will die. Surely I’ve made my point, yet I will drone on. We live in a culture of death where the youngest and most innocent are killed before even the first light of life and the oldest and most experienced are hidden away and ushered out by seasoned professionals. In the face of this reality, many who are living this life who have any sort of financial means try their hardest to look like, think like, talk like and live like death is not approaching and will never happen. It is simply not politically correct to talk about death in mixed company. It is the ‘D’ word.
However, Jesus Christ has not only conquered death, he has also removed the enslaving fear of death through the fact of His resurrection. Death has truly been defeated. He has overcome the ultimate reality of death. This, of course, is at the heart of the Christian hope. We don’t die forever. Just as our earthly existence is temporary, so is our physical death. It happens, but it is not the end.
In addition, through His sharing in our flesh and in our death, Lord Jesus has also removed the slavery that is empowered by the fear of death. We do not have to live in slavery to the fear of death. This fear that stalks us is unfounded. As we entrust our lives ever more fully to Him, we are controlled less and less by this fear of death. The knowledge of the truth of the defeat of death delivers us from the debilitating fear of its pending arrival. My brother may have been afraid of the unknown; however, his relationship with Lord Jesus, in reality, freed him from the ultimate fear of death. He was free. He knew it. He had banked his life on the truth of this freedom. He did not always feel it or express it but he knew it. He lived it. When the day finally came that his body lost the war with cancer, he was ushered into the presence of the Risen Christ. Fear was defeated. True life began. For the believer, ‘To be out of the body is to be with Christ.’
The application is clear. I’ve rambled on enough. Death and it’s associated slavery through fear has been defeated. Christ won. We do too. All of the promises of God are ‘Yes’ in Him, especially the promise of life after death. (Is it even possible for one of God’s promises to be ‘especially’?)
May Jesus Christ be the Master of your life so that you may enjoy the ‘slavery’ of serving Him and not be trapped in the slavery of the fear of death. Moments of passing fear will no doubt come but we know the truth. Christ has overcome the grave.
The end draws nigh. Be not afraid. Death has been defeated. The faithfulness of Father God will be proven to you when you pass from this life into the next. ‘Even when we are faithless, He remains faithful’.
Thanks be to God.