Appointed Once To Die, Part Two

I want to believe that none of us like thinking or talking about death let alone facing it.  But it’s something we can’t avoid…we can and should prepare for it.  Our life is but a vapor, we’re here for a little while on this beautiful earth, but we’ll all vanish away one day. (James 4:14)  There’s only one of two places we’ll go when we leave this earth, Heaven or Hell.  These are two very real places…the Psalmist David tells us that God is in the heavens. (Ps. 115:1-3)  We also know that when Jesus left this earth, He told us he would prepare a place for us to dwell with Him forever. (Jn. 14:1-3)  Those who come to God through Christ will spend eternity in heaven with God.  Those who reject Christ will spend eternity in Hell with Satan. (II Pet. 2:4-10; Mt. 25:31-46)  We can’t come to God on our own because we’re dead in our trespasses and sins. (Eph. 2:1-10)  Only God can give us eternal life through the power of the Holy Spirit drawing men unto Himself.  The only way to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ! (Jn. 14:6)  When we realize we are sinners and deserve eternal punishment in Hell, God promises us that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is the Christ and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we WILL be saved! (Rom. 10:9-13)

Over my lifetime, I’ve doubted my salvation and have feared death.  In His perfect time, the Holy Spirit brought some verses to my mind to assure me that I was a child of God. They were Ephesians 1:13-14 which remind me that as a child of God, I’m sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.  As Jesus was about to ascend back into heaven to be seated at His Father’s right hand, he promised to send a replacement for his absence whom He called the Comforter (John 15:26)…this is the Holy Spirit who indwells us when we come to Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Savior!

I had struggled with and began fearing death even more about four years ago after finding out I had a blood clot in my lung five weeks after surgery.  Even though it was small, I was told that it had to go through my heart to get to my lung.  I know without a doubt that God used this frightening situation to grab a hold of my stubborn, rebellious heart that had neglected the means of my sanctification for most of my life!  Those means are reading and hearing the Word preached, partaking of the Lord’s Supper which entails eating the bread that represents Christ’s broken body and drinking the cup of wine which represents Christ’s blood that was shed on the cross for our sins and lastly, prayer.  When I ignore or am apathetic toward any of these means of grace, I can not grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I’m so grateful God used this scary health situation to cause me to think about eternity and my relationship with God.

The result of this eye opening experience has given me an overwhelming and exciting time of growing in that grace and knowledge offered to me…by God’s grace, He’s given me a hunger and thirst for righteousness (Mt. 5:6) and a desire to faithfully read His Word every day…I can truly and honestly say today that I look forward to getting into the Word every day and chewing on the precious jewels that are sprinkled on every page of God’s precious and holy Word!  I’m amazed to see how the Holy Spirit truly does enlighten the eyes of my heart and guide me into all truth. (I Cor. 2:12-13; Jn. 16:13-15)

Now to finally end this lengthy blog post, I had to chuckle as I picked up the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms this morning that I started reading a few months ago…It’s not by coincidence that I began my reading with Question 152!

Question 152: What does every sin deserve at the hands of God?

Answer: Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty, goodness, and holiness of God, and against his righteous law, deserves his wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come; and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ.

Question 153: What does God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law?

Answer: That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of the transgression of the law, he requires of us repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation.

Question 154: What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation?

Answer: The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances; especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation.

Question 155: How is the Word made effectual to salvation?

Answer: The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling sinners; of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ; of conforming them to his image, and subduing them to his will; of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions; of building them up in grace, and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.

I believe these sum up very well what I tried to articulate above.  It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment…think on these things and think on eternity! (John 5:39)  I’m learning that I don’t need to fear death.  I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”  Since God is love and I love God, I have no need to fear death…Thanks be to God!

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