Death is a subject mankind avoids like a plague, but comes to us all. What death has done for our friends, he will surely do for us. Each one of us can say with Job, “For I know that you will bring me to death and to the house appointed for all living” (Job 20:23). Some of us may die sooner than others, but all at last will hear his call. It’s appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgment (Heb 9:27). We are marching in a great procession toward the grave, judgment and eternity! Our childhood found us the very essence of strength and vigor, but today our faces are wrinkled, our hair is turning gray or balding, and steps that once were quick and lively have slowed their pace. Soon those once strong and beautiful bodies will perish in the grave and go back to dust.
Yet, our efforts to stay the cold, chilly hand of death are in the end, futile. We try to eat right, exercise, and have regular checkups in an attempt to defeat death or at least postpone our the date. “There is no man that has power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither has he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war” (Eccl. 8:8).
There is no way to avoid the inevitable. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12). One of England’s queens cried out on her death-bed, “Millions for an inch of time!” All the money in the world will not buy one second of time when death summons.
The Death of the Righteous
Death befalls all, but not to all alike. The Psalmist said, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints” (Ps. 116:118). True, it is a sad experience for the loved ones of that departed soul. They must readjust their life to their absence, and it is natural for this to bring heartache and tears.
Yes, thank God and take courage! As the apostle exhorts, “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13-18). For the righteous, it puts us one step closer to our eternal home. “. . . Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13).
The Death of the Sinful and Rebellious
For those who go on in their sins it will be a day-of sorrow! When death comes, his soul, the real you, will leave the physical temple and wing it’s way into the eternal flames of a burning Hell! Paul spoke of “the sting of death.” The soul that has been careless, indifferent, unconcerned and rebellious will have a sad awakening! When the drunkard in his dying minutes audits up his life and sees his poor weeping wife, who in the hours of intoxication he abused, and his children who went hungry, ragged and uneducated, what a sting!
Imagine, if you can, the man who lived a life of immorality as he recalls all the innocent young ladies he has robbed of their purity. Some of them in a fallen state of ruin, bodies diseased, aged, wrinkled and worn! He may also see the illegitimate children he has fathered and whose lives he has shamed. Perhaps in that dying hour to see all the souls of murdered babies, slaughtered by the hands of physicians in abortions, who have vowed to give their lives in the preservation of life. Oh, the terrible sting of sin!
On the other hand, here is the man who has heard the gospel expounded, and listened to the sweet invitation songs of the Saints, but hardened his heart and said “No” to Christ. In Hell he may very well see the weeping, tormented souls of loved ones he might have saved, but he would not. For such, death will be a dark, lonely, horrible experience! Go to the bed of the dying sinner and see the anxiety, the dread, the despair, which surround him.
Thomas Paine, as he came to his dying hour exclaimed, “O Lord, help me, for I cannot bear to be left alone! Please Lord!” “The sting of death is sin” (1 Cor. 15:56). My friends, thanks to Christ you need not die the death of the wicked! Christ came that you might have life and have it more abundantly (Jn 10:10). John tells us that that life is in His Son (1 Jn 5:11). By being baptized into Christ you can have access to that life. (Rom. 6:3 f; Gal. 3:26,27).
At this hour, are you unprepared to die? You know the truth, but through hardness of heart you have turned down a loving savior who died for you. What a treacherous path you tread. “He, that being often reproved hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” (Prov. 29:1). Brethren, we cannot live wrong and die right!