And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
The greatest reality of life is the greatest denial. Man has faced the certainty of death since the blood of Abel cried from the ground but we act as if we will live forever. Death happens to other people not me. The vibrant chords of life flow through our veins in youthful splendor with little acknowledgment death hovers near. There is an appointment that all men will keep. Why is it we live in such a way that we deny death?
Death is real. That is not hard to understand because the touch of its hand is all around us. The news is filled with tragedies of planes crashing, chemical explosions, murder, wars and accidents taking young lives. Cemeteries are filled with marble reminders of the shadow of death. The old must die and the young can die. It matters not the age of a person or their station of life. Death is real.
Death is the equalizer. Many people live in squalor and die from starvation and disease. Those who live in sumptuous wealth die also. Jesus tells the story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus who had one thing in common: they both died. The rich man had a wonderful life and Lazarus knew nothing but misery and death came to both of them. The rich man may have been entombed in a lavish crypt but he was still dead. Good people die and evil people die. It matters not the education, influence, lifestyle or place in life death is an appointment all men face.
Death is the judge. The finality of life is found in the moment of death. There is no changing. There is no coming back. There are no more chances to do something else. Life is only lived once and after this a judgment awaits. The sum total of a man’s existence is found in the moment of death because at that moment his eternal existence is forever unchanged. If there was a single part of life that is seldom considered it is the manner of life at the moment of death. This will shape the decision of where we will spend eternity. It does not matter whether we believe in eternity or not. Disbelieving there is life after death does not change the fact there is life after death. Man does not live for what he gains here but where he will find himself at the throne of God. Death is a judgment of the character of man. This decision is sealed at death. No going back. No second chance.
Death is life. The greatest lie Satan whispers in our ear is that death is not real. We live in our own way and do what we want to do because other people die, not me. Death becomes life when I see that life is but a vapor that appears for a little while and then is gone. I am that vapor. Living with the reality of death and what it means will change the way I serve the Lord. Our Creator did not give us death to fill us with fear but to help us see the clarity of life. Pain is the evidence that we are alive. Death is the reality we will live forever. Sin would have less appeal in our lives if we would accept the fact the dying is real, it comes to all men and our eternal fate is sealed in the embrace of death.
Are you ready to die today?
Men shun the thought of death as sad, but death will only be sad to those who have not thought of it. It must come sooner or later and then he who has refused to seek the truth in life will be forced to face it in death. (Francois Fenelon, Spiritual Letters of, c. 1700)