29 December 2016

The Many Losses of 2016

This year seems unusual for the passing of so many celebrities, musicians, actors, and other prominenten.

These last two - Carrie Fisher and then her mother, Debbie Reynolds, a day later - seem particularly painful. But we know that death is the inevitable end of all life in this world. It's not pleasant to dwell on, but that's just the way things are.

But at the same time, we have some hope:
And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 4:13 MSG)

As I get older, I take particular pleasure in the phrase "as if the grave were the last word." It most assuredly is not.

We are informed by the Bible, God's Word, that humankind is a race of immortals. There was a time when you were not, but there will never be a time when you will not be. The only question is where we will spend eternity.

Death is but a passage from this physical world into the spiritual realm. Like walking through a door, one enters a new room. Perhaps not visible to those in the room left behind, but just as real.

Let us remember what that other Paul wrote:
It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God — “Jesus is my Master” — embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!” (Romans 10:10 MSG)
I've heard all sorts of excuses for not accepting this free gift: "I'm not ready yet", "I'm fixin' to",  "I need to get my life straight, first," ... the list is endless.

But the fact is that no preparation is needed. He's ready for you just like you are. Paul put it this way:
"[I]f you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9 NKJV)

It's so very simple that it takes a theologian to mess it up. It's true, and it works, I promise you. But more importantly, God Himself promises you.


Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Timely words indeed Reverend. I always wonder after these sorts of well known and public deaths if people - good heavens, if I myself - take stock of my life and the fact that eternity is coming down the chute at us faster than we can imagine.

Rev. Paul said...

Thank you, TB. Unexpected passings always make me think about that as well, for a time. But eternity approaches at its usual, consistent speed; it's just that I'm aware that I have rather fewer years ahead of me (here) than what lies behind.

Old NFO said...

Excellent point! Thanks!

Rev. Paul said...

Thank you for noticing, Jim. :)

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

For me as well Reverend. Both Carrie Fisher and George Michael are within striking distance of my own age. Unsettling indeed.