Today is a landmark day in Wales. In the figures published by Public Health Wales, there have been no coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours. That’s the first time since March, and the first time since lockdown began. Today is therefore a day of hope, a day where we can look forward to no more coronavirus deaths. There will be more, of course, in the near future, and we must remain vigilant, but we can enjoy some positive news today, and look forward to coronavirus one day ending.

Death though, is a part of life sadly. It was with us before coronavirus and it will be with us afterwards. Heart disease, cancer, and dementia, still remain as major life takers, and we have to accept them and learn to live with them. It’s shocking how many people die every day, and it makes death something that we all fear.

Well, maybe not all. I fear the process of death, but death itself doesn’t worry me. I just heard someone on tv say, “No one knows for certain what happens after we die. If someone tries to tell you they do, they’re a liar.” That’s not true. The Bible tells us what happens when we die. For a Christian it’s a very positive picture. When I die my body will return to dust, but I will live on. The Apostle Paul once expressed his confusion about what he should be doing. He was a missionary, a preacher and teacher, who suffered excessive persecution. Death would be a pleasing release for him but he knew that he still had a work to complete. To a church in Philippi he wrote:

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”(1)

Rather than fearing death, and seeing it as the end, Paul spoke of death as something better by far than what he already had. Why? Because in death he would depart and be with Christ. That’s true for every Christian, so when I die I will go to be with Christ. Rather than being afraid of death, I’m excited at the prospect, however weird that may sound. Why would I not want to go to someone who loves me and died for me?

To another church, this one in Ephesus, Paul wrote:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”(2)

Salvation, eternal security and departing to be with Christ are the result of faith in Jesus. Sadly, many people think they have to earn the right to go to heaven, but that’s not true. Paul makes it very clear that it’s not by works, we can’t earn our salvation. Our sin is too great for that, but despite this same sin God gives us eternal life through a simple act of faith. He asks us to believe that Jesus died for us, and when we do so he wipes our slates clean. He forgives us all our sin, gives us his salvation and removes the fear of death. I’m sure no one wants to fear death. You don’t have to if you trust Jesus. Death will then be the entrance to an even better experience, one that never ends.

Bible References

  • Philippians 1:21-24
  • Ephesians 2:8