As Christians, we know that we should not be afraid of death. The Bible describes what will happen to those who died. “The trumpet will sound, and those who have died will be raised to live forever, and we will all be changed. This body that can be destroyed must clothe itself with something that can never be destroyed… Death is destroyed forever in victory…. Death, where is your pain?” 1 Corinthians 15:52-57 (NCV). 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 also holds a glorious promise for what those of us who believe in Jesus can expect.
But I’ve sometimes wondered how I would really meet death when my own turn to die came. I can say the right things and know the verses in the Bible but can I really have it the way I talk about it?
Experiences with death
Through some experiences that I had in my personal life it became clear to me that there are two ways to go out from this world.
I could leave this world, with nothing to show for the time that I lived here. If my focus is only on the things of this world, and I don’t have eyes for the things that are important for eternal life, then I have no eternal treasures stored up, no life in Christ, nothing to take with me into eternity.
Or I can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ, learning of Him, and building up a storehouse of treasures that have eternal worth. I can live in such a way that when I go home to God, I will hear Him say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:14-30.) This kind of life also makes life on earth good and worthwhile, and my life can be a blessing and help to other people.
My life on earth
So, I know that the life I live while I’m here on this earth, will determine how I will meet death when my time comes to die. If I live a faithful, overcoming life and am obedient to God’s Word, then I can meet death with joy and peace. Death is nothing to be afraid of if I am a disciple of Jesus. I can meet death with joy, looking forward to my reward. I can be totally changed from being afraid of death to someone that thinks about death in the same way that God does - which is just to be together with Him.
In Matthew 25:34 (NCV) Jesus tells us, “Come, my Father has given you his blessing. Receive the kingdom God has prepared for you since the world was made.” And in 1 John 2:25, “And this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life.”
The best way to be ready to meet God when we die, is to get to know Him while we are living. “Come near to God, and God will come near to you.” James 4:8 (NCV). “Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NCV). Then we can look forward to the day that we will meet our Father and His Son, Jesus, whom we have learned to know and love while we were still here on earth.
God’s Word is true
I have seen that God’s Word is proven to be true in so many ways throughout my life. I believe that His promises about life after death will be just as true and glorious. “The Word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Psalm 18:30. I have had many opportunities to test God, and He has proven Himself true every time. His Word has been a sure foundation for my life.
It is written in the Bible that our days were numbered before the world began. God has planned things for us to do. He knows how much time we have here on earth, and it is just enough time for Him to finish the work He has started in us. (Philippians 1:6.) We must live worthy of this high and holy calling. If I believe what is written in the Bible, I have this hope in Him and I purify myself as He is pure. (1 John 3:3.)
The main point is: If I believe what is written in the Bible and am faithful to obey God’s Word just as it is written, I will not be afraid of death but will look forward to hearing Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; … enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:21-23.