Summary: Death is not the end for a Christian. Christ has conquered death, and we now enjoy life in Him.

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“Do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” [1]

She was a gracious lady who had walked with the Lord for many years. She was widowed earlier in life and had remarried a gentleman. Garnet was a good man. He had served in the Canadian Forces during the Second World War, seeing perhaps more death than anyone should ever have to witness. He was a member of the lodge, having advanced to some of the highest ranks within that particular organisation; and though he faithfully attended the services of the church, there was a sense of unease concerning his relationship to the Master.

On one occasion while I visited in their home, that gracious lady confronted him, saying, “Garnet, if you were going to take a trip to Montreal, you would prepare for that journey. You would purchase your ticket; you would pack your luggage and arrange for a place to stay. You say you’re going to Heaven. However, I never see you preparing for that trip. You never read your Bible. You never pray. You never speak of that journey. Are you certain you are going to make that trip?”

“I’m okay,” he assured that dear lady, “I have done what was necessary.” However, there was never any indication that he had a relationship to Christ the Lord. I understand that it I am not to pronounce judgement, but I never witnessed any fruit evident in that gentleman’s life. Only a matter of months after that conversation, I preached his funeral. Though he said he had done all that was necessary, there was scant evidence of transformation.

Death is the last thing we talk about in modern life. Those who sell life insurance can relate multiplied stories about how difficult it can be for people to think about what is inevitable. I have frequently observed with deep sorrow how widows or widowers are unprepared when death comes—their loved one never prepared for death. Whether death for a loved one comes suddenly and unexpectedly, or whether the death followed a lingering illness, few people are actually prepared. Surely the poet penned a great truth when he wrote,

“And come he slow, or come he fast,

It is but Death who comes at last.” [2]

Almost incidentally, the Apostle speaks a glorious truth concerning Jesus our Saviour. Paul testifies that Christ Jesus abolished death. Though we are believers in the Risen Son of God, we still find this truth difficult to believe at times. When our beloved family member is laid to rest for the final time, we hurt terribly and at that moment we know that our loved one is no longer with us. The familiar voice, the warming smile, the gentle touch are but a memory at that time. How can we imagine that they are alive?

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