Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die. The Pope is so afraid of dying that he has body guards and rides in a pope-mobile with bullet proof glass. Some Christians are so afraid of dying that they go from doctor to doctor to prolong their life. Don’t get me wrong, life for the wicked can be a fun thing. However, for the true Christian, life can be a living hell. Every Christian is seeking some relief and some seek that in doctors.
Consider the story Christ revealed about the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31). The rich man was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. Life to him must have seemed like paradise. However, for Lazarus, life was hell. Lazarus, laid at the rich man’s gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The rich man wanted more life to live. Lazarus wanted to die daily to get out of his misery. The rich man received good things but Lazarus received evil things. Jesus’ story basically was the difference between the Saint and the Sinner. Sinners have the good life right here on earth. Christians are alive but they are dead to the world (Rom 6:3,4). When the sinner dies, he wakes up in hell. When the Christian dies, he is taken to a place of rest.
Yes, some Christians want to live, even as Paul, in order to help others. However, most want to live longer in order to help themselves to more luxuries. Paul was torn between desiring to be here on earth to preach God’s Word and the desire to be dead and receive his crown of life (Philip 1:23,24). I fully understand that feeling. I want to preach God’s Word and persuade as many as I can before I am taken away. However, there is a part of me that desires this life to be over so that I may receive my crown of life.
Life for a Christian is hard. Why? Because God tries the righteous (Ps 11:5,6). God does not try the wicked. Persecution comes upon ALL FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS (2 Tim 3:12). The rod of God does not come upon the wicked in this life (Job 21:9). As the book of Job illustrates, the righteous suffers evil when he as done no evil. Job had his health, wealth, and family taken from him. Then, he had friends accuse of him doing something worthy of such tragedies. Even today, unfaithful saints and sinners will accuse the FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN, “What have you done that could have caused such evil to come upon you?” To this end, they accuse foolishly. The prophets of old, Jesus and His apostles all suffered for doing good. In fact, Christ was sinless and yet he suffered, even the cross. Notice the words of Peter who said, “For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth”: (1 Pet 2:20-22). The servant is not above his master (Mt 10:24). If they hated Christ, they will hate Christians (Lk 21:7 f; Jn 15:18). If they persecuted Christ, they will persecute Christians (Jn 15:20). “If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (Jn 15:19).
Yes, the sinner has won this life. They have the wealth, health, and longevity. However, when they die, they will spend an eternity in the lake of fire (2 Thess 1:7-9). Despite what the world thinks, faithful Christians will eventually win the war and receive their just reward (Jam 1:12). However, it will take dying to get it done (Rev 2:10)!