I’m going to die! I am 100% certain of it – and no doctor can tell me otherwise, nor can they prevent this from happening.
No, I don’t have COVID-19. No, I’ve not been diagnosed with cancer or some other dread disease.
But Scripture is clear: “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:11). I was born with a death sentence on my life. While I don’t know when that day will come, or even by what means that death will come, it is a date which is already set in stone. Indeed, even by worrying myself to a frazzle, the same Bible clearly record the words of Jesus: “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27)
You see, we all share the same death sentence, totally earned and deserved. For the wages (just payment for) of sin is death” Romans 6:23a. I will one day draw my last breath and die the first death. Short of the end of the world and the LORD’s return, every single one of us will face that certainty. What comes next is the kicker!
For those who are in Christ – we are partakers of the resurrection – and will be unaffected by the second death – the eternal condemnation and judgment of a very real Hell and the Lake of Fire – the abode of torment created for Satan and his fallen coconspirators. For God has made it clear For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18)
I not only am completely unable to save myself from this totally justified wrath by the Holy and Righteous creator of all things – but am utterly and hopelessly condemned – BUT…
While I could never in a million years of doing good stuff make up for my sin, God, through His Son Jesus Christ (both fully God and fully man), took on my sins and paid that sin debt on my behalf- All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. (Isaiah 53:6) God Himself paid the debt I owed, taking my sin and shame and carrying it as far as the East is from the West. And not only that, but He has promised “all that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37). Even more blessed is that Jesus also said: “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:28-30)
And this all is so simple, as to almost be impossible to fathom. But Scripture says that “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED” (Romans 10:13). But let’s think a moment about what it means to “call upon the name of the LORD” – It isn’t simply like asking someone for a gift. Calling on is at its simplest – when you absolutely and completely trust someone to come through in the very worst of situations – when all people you know might very well fail – KNOWING that GOD alone is there with you – helping you – strengthening you, that you will NEVER be alone. Paul, in quoting the Old Testament passage Deuteronomy 31:6, wrote in Hebrews 13:5 “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.”
“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
Confessing simply means to affirm and be willing to state with absolute certainty that Jesus Christ is LORD (that HE is God, who took your sins in full, paid the price by His death on the cross, carried them away, and was resurrected winning victory over death, and that HE is the King and ruler of your life (he is even if we don’t acknowledge it – but it is a willingness to live it).
Jesus put it even more simply as He was traveling through Galilee calling His first disciples – He simply said “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (MARK 1:15). To repent means to literally TURN FROM your sins – reject sin, a change of heart regarding sin and those things that offend God.
But none of this is even possible on our own – again, I go back to my utter inability to do anything about my sins or to pay for them. You see, God described it way back in Ezekiel this way: “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19)
God begins the work in us, and as part of the greater gift, by drawing us to Himself “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day”. (John 6:44)
That greater gift? It is that Jesus did it all for us: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) By God’s Grace (His divine, sovereign will an choice) He draws people of all ages, groups, nations, and people to Himself, gives them than new. Heart of flesh, opens their eyes to see and ears to hear, and gives them the faith to believe and the strength to turn from sin.
I will never, in this life, understand WHY, nor even HOW it all could possibly be – but that is why it is called faith. But it isn’t just a blind faith – for history has proven that Jesus Christ was a very real person in time – who made waves throughout the world. We an trust the Bible and how it records it all because, again, history confirms it – and the evidence is overwhelming.
And it is why we can walk without fear – 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
In fact, God has told us through the pen of Peter: “casting all your anxiety on Him,because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
And finally, for those who truly trust in Jesus, we have this incredible promise in my own favorite verse of all: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) In this, we are not promised an easy life. We are not promised health. We are not promised a lack of pain. He hasn’t promised we won’t face an ugly virus… or even cancer. But HE does promise His children that HE is with us, and that He will use it and work even these hard and dark things – to our good.
And THIS is why – whether its COVID-19/Coronavirus, Cancer, violence, accident, or whatever – I do not fear my last breath. I do not fear what is to come – because God has it all in His perfect hand. And it is in HIM that we can find peace and genuine fulfillment. And it is my prayer that you too can find “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) Then you too may not fear what this world may bring.