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Fear of Death: How to be free from this bondage!

Posted by GFNSProductions on October 9, 2021 at 8:05 PM
Do you have a fear of dying? Be honest. If so, has this fear crippled you at times from enjoying life? Fear of death is indeed a source of bondage for those who succumb to it; yet, true belief in God and hope in the resurrection frees us from that fear. Knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love God, we can rest assured that our lives are in his hands. (Romans 8:28) Thus, when it�??s our time to leave this earth, we know that it is only when our Heavenly Father allows it. As our big brother Jesus stated, �?? No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.�?�( John 10:18) You might be thinking. �??Wow. This is quite a claim for a man who was killed by being hung on a tree.�?� Yet, did you know that even when he was being arrested in preparation for his trial, torture, and execution Jesus said the following: �??Don�??t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?�?� (Matthew 26:53-54) Did you know that when we are adopted into God�??s heavenly family by means of faith in Jesus�?? sacrifice, and the indwelling of God�??s Holy Spirit, we have the same access to this relationship and protection from our Heavenly Father? (Galatians 4:6) You see, the scriptures that he meant to fulfill in this case was for our benefit, for �??he died for us, so that we might live�?� (2 Corinthians 5:15). And since he gave up his life as a ransom for our sinful lives, it is no longer necessary for us to have to die for our own sins. For the scriptures state that the �??wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.�?� (Romans 6:23) All we have to do though is repent and ask God for his forgiveness on the basis of Jesus' ransom sacrifice since he already purchase this gift for us with his blood. We know this sacrifice was acceptable to God by the very fact that Jesus came back to life only three days after he died. In fact, he is still alive even today pleading in our behalf as he sits at the right hand of God. (Romans 8:34) Yet as his followers, we are also called to walk the same path as him, namely: carry our cross towards death knowing that we will come back to life one day to live forever. Living with this hope may mean at times staring death straight in the face but still fearlessly walking towards it as Jesus did. Are you willing to be led by God�??s Holy Spirit and �??follow the Lamb [Jesus] wherever he goes�?�? (Revelations 14:4) As we saw in many cases with the Apostle Paul, he was warned by many of his fellow brothers/prophets of what lay ahead of him should he choose to continue on his evangelism course to Jerusalem. We read: �??Believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem... Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul�??s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, �??The Holy Spirit declares, �??So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.�??�?� When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. But he said, �??Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.�?? When it was clear that we couldn�??t persuade him, we gave up and said, �??The Lord�??s will be done.�??�?� (Acts of the Apostles 21:4, 10-14) This path eventually did lead to the apostle Paul�??s death by beheading in Rome. Yet, knowing that God had the power to bring him back to life, gave Paul the strength and courage to endure despite the opposition. And we can have this same strength/courage if we truly take to heart what it means to have faith in Jesus�?? resurrection. At the same time, this is not an invitation to purposely/needlessly put ourselves in harms way by living a reckless life. As we saw in the example of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness, Satan would want nothing more than for us to think that our faith requires us to ignore wisdom and make foolish choices to prove that we trust in God. We read in this account: �??Then the devil took [Jesus] to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, �??If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, �??He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won�??t even hurt your foot on a stone.�??�?� Jesus responded, �??The Scriptures also say, �??You must not test Yahweh your God.�??�?��?� (Matthew 4:5-7) From this example, we see that faith in God did not mean ignoring science, in this case the law of gravity. For Satan would be delighted to have one less warrior for God on Earth due to them being taken out by foolish choices. Instead, Jesus said, �??Listen! I am sending you out just like sheep to a pack of wolves. You must be as cautious as snakes and as gentle as doves. �?� (Matthew 10:16) Instead, faith means trusting God no matter the circumstances. Another good example of this type of faith and courage in action can be found in the story of the three Hebrew boys in Babylon. They were faced with the punishment of being burned alive for refusing to bow down to the golden statue of King Nebuchadnezzar. In the midst of this most horrid predicament, they boldly stated: �??If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn�??t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.�?� (Daniel 3:17-18) Ultimately, these three Hebrews boys stood firm in their faith and were rescued by miraculous divine intervention; however, this is not the case for all. As we read from the accounts of the first century Christians we were facing persecution for their faith in Jesus: �??But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword.�?� (Hebrews 11:35-37) Despite these tragic endings, �??we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.�?� (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14) Indeed, Jesus will surely undo all the consequences of death by means of the resurrection when he returns to Earth. At that time, he will reward the faithful with everlasting life, and finally �??the last enemy to be destroyed is death.�?� (Read 1 Corinthians chapter 15 for more details) On the other hand, death should be greatly feared by those who aren't prepared/reconciled with their maker. It is more than a mere passing of life; it is the doorway from the temporary to the eternal... eternal life or eternal death. This makes death very serious business. Preparation must be taken seriously and acted upon quickly. That�??s why Jesus said: �??Don�??t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in [the lake of fire]... Not everyone who calls out to me, �??Lord! Lord!�?? will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, �??Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.�?? But I will reply, �??I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God�??s laws.�??�?� (Matthew 10:28, 7:21-23) "Turn to the Lord one day before you die," was the advice given by a sage to his followers. "And who can know the day of his death, Master?" asked one who heard his counsel. "True," said the sage, "and for that reason, you should turn to the Lord today, for you may die tomorrow" (Proverbs 27:1) Indeed, �??As God�??s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God�??s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, �??At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.�?? Indeed, the �??right time�?� is now. Today is the day of salvation.�?� (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

Categories: Life Experiences, Survival of the Faithful, Exegetical Studies

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