Death, the Pervading Influence

Look around you. Read the tabloids (if you dare). Or, at least, just take a glance at the front page of the tabloids. Even the so-called “good” (or at least mediocre) newspapers have it. What is ‘it’? Death! A woman dies. A man dies. Three children die. People are killed. Some are shot. Recently, the former president and publisher of the Jerusalem Post, Yehuda Levy, died, at age 64. A meager 64 years! Some die before they are even born! And the list goes on and on and on. It is just everywhere. If you can’t see it, you are missing something. If you are hiding from it, you are in gross deception — you have deceived yourself and left yourself with hardly a hope!

Death is the theme. It is undoubtedly the most “pervading influence” of our times. Sorry, Bill Gates, or Bill Clinton, or whoever happens to be president in Russia at the moment — you don’t even come close to this one. You, like us all, are just “vapors” that appear for a short while, and then are gone. The influence is not a man or a woman or some celebrity, like Burt Reynolds, or Carol Burnett, or Jack Nicholson, or Stompin’ Tom Connors. Guys, you don’t even come close to the most pervasive influence of all: Death! Death will snatch you — and us all — in the end. You will not escape it! Who has?

Death is ugly. It is proud. It is mean. And — it is unbiased. A man says, “If God you are real, then stop my mother from dying!” God hears all right, but the mother still dies. God is impartial. He will save for a while — but his judgment still rests on the whole earth — the judgment which he declared back in the days of Adam and Eve: “For in the day that you eat of [the forbidden fruit] you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17). God’s judgments are true, they are just, they are impartial, they are without favoritism. I will die. You will die. We will all die. We have all partaken of a vast number of forbidden fruits. And we are all destined to die, just like our first parents.

Now with this in mind, what ought to be our reaction? Should we live as though death were not real? Don’t be a fool! It’s time to wake up and smell the roses. You’re not here forever, my friend. The angel of death will get you, too. The real question is, where will you go when you die? If you don’t know right now, it’s time to wake up and smell the roses. You need to do something about that state you are in, before it’s too late. Here it is in black and white. I don’t know if there is a simpler, more straightforward way to tell it than this:

1. You’re going to die. It could be today. It could be tomorrow. You need to be ready. If you’re not ready, you’re only fooling yourself.

2. Don’t think that you will do any better for “putting off today what you know is true about tomorrow.” For years, now, you’ve known that you are going to die. And so who’s going to be the fool in the end? The one who does not pay attention to what’s important right now! Right now you’ve got a decision to make. If you refuse to make that decision, or decide to “put it off forever,” then you will be held fully accountable for that decision which you have made — which is to put it off. So don’t be a fool any longer, and don’t put it off. “Now,” the Bible says, “is the day of salvation!” Not tomorrow! (2 Corinthians 6:2)

3. Jesus Christ came to pay the penalty for your sins and mine, so that, by trusting in him for the forgiveness of your sins, you might have an everlasting relationship with the Father — the one who created you. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except by me.” (John 14:6)

4. The reason Jesus came was to bring you into a “right relationship” with the Father — something your good works could never accomplish. You need to see that you will never be able to satisfy God’s righteous requirements for your sin unless you turn to him by faith, in accordance with what Jesus Christ did for you in dying on the cross.

5. If Jesus didn’t have to die to “solve the problem” of your sin, then he is the greatest fool of all. If you reject what the Bible clearly says is God’s ONLY provision for your sin, then you are making God out to be a fool, because you are declaring that Jesus didn’t have to die for your sins. Watch out! You’re in danger of slandering the Lord Jesus Christ, and God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit — declaring them as fools and liars, if indeed, you choose to reject God’s only provision for your sin.

6. Do you want to take the risk of rejecting God in this way, and standing on your own righteousness? Are you truly that righteous? Have you never done anything wrong at all? Therefore, you need to get right with God today, and confess your sins before him, and repent in humility, with a sense of dependence upon him alone.

“Lord, I humbly bow before you, and confess you as Savior and Lord. Lead me now to a caring group of believers, with whom I may have fellowship on a regular basis. Help me to read your word, to pray, and to seek you continually. Thank you Lord for coming into my life and making me your child. For it is by faith that I come to you. And it is in Christ’s name that I pray. Amen.”