- 1 The Solution to Death, Sorrow, and Suffering
- 2 God’s Will and the Tyranny of Death
- 3 The Source and Stability of Hope
- 4 Godly Results of Physical Death
- 5 Christian View of Death
- 6 The Wisdom of the World and Christian Hope
- 7 Celebration of Life in the Face of Death
- 8 The Focus of Our Hope
- 9 Benediction
The Solution to Death, Sorrow, and Suffering
Hope in today’s world means “I wish for something to happen, and maybe it will and maybe it won’t.”
How can hope be an effective antidote to fears about things and events that are part of the very fabric of life? These ever-present dangers to the peace of life are experiences we cannot escape such as death, sin, and suffering. How can hope be a solution to great fears and anxieties?
God’s Will and the Tyranny of Death
Death, the inevitable end of life for all, produces great fear for most. By contrast, God’s view of death, presents an event where fear is replaced by the spiritual fruit of joy in His presence. Our future is a sure hope and firm conviction founded upon the eternal promises of God (for we are heirs of the promise) as found in His Word. Biblical hope, when appropriated, becomes an active part of our present life because the Father, who cannot lie, has assured us of the glorious outcome (Heb 6:17-20).
Jesus, from His place at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly sanctuary, functions as our High Priest forever. The anchor of our hope is secure in Christ. His truth has set us free from bondage to sin and death. He encourages us by the promise (of eternal life by grace through faith) supported by an oath. The oath signifies the (Gk.) boule or will of God. God’s will or purpose is unmovable, irrepressible, and cannot be changed or stopped. His will always results in the accomplishment of His purpose. The anchor of hope in the victory over death and sin is steadfastly set in the Father’s will, the Person and work of the Son and the Word of the Spirit.
The Source and Stability of Hope
“The ship firmly anchored is safe from idle drifting. Its position and safety are sure. So hope is a stabilizing force for the Christian. “Soul” (psyche) may be the way to understand it, but the term is often used of the life of man and this seems to be the meaning here. The author is not saying simply that hope secures the “spiritual” aspect of man. He is affirming that hope forms an anchor for the whole of life. The person with a living hope has a steadying anchor in all he does.” Expositors Bible Commentary
Wuest states, “The writer says that this encouragement (based upon the promise and oath of God and a strong army or fortress against doubt and discouragement) is for those of his readers who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before them. The Greek word meaning “to flee for refuge” katapheugo is used in the LXX (Deut. 4:42) of the slayer who killed his neighbor unawares, and who, to escape the avenger, flees for refuge to one of the cities of refuge. Here it speaks of the sinner fleeing for refuge from the penalty of sin, to the High Priest who has offered atonement for him and his sin. His only (and sure) hope is in his High Priest … ” Word Studies in the Greek New Testament
Godly Results of Physical Death
Death means separation, not the absence or annihilation of life. Death of a believer’s body results in the following things:
- Separation from and the laying down of a body of corruption (1 Cor 15:42-44) in preparation for the reception of a spiritual body like Jesus Christ’s (Rom 8:23). The body must die due to the curse of the garden (1 Cor 15:20-22), not because it is inherently evil or bad.(For example, dependent upon our choice as to which life we live through our hearts, the body can be used as a living sacrifice to God as our spiritual worship and walk (Rom 12:1) or as a tool to manifest and satisfy our lusts that come from the self-oriented sin nature when we choose a life apart from God and His will.)
- A state of perfection with eternal separation from the sin nature and the sin it produces (1 John 3:2)
- Entrance into heaven and the heavenly blessings, glory, and riches of the grace of God (Col 1:5).
- Face to face relationship with God and His Son who eternally dwells with us (John 14:1-3).
Christian View of Death
The sorrow of loss of a loved one for those of us who are left behind must not overshadow the tremendous joy we feel for one who, loved by God and called according to His purpose, now enters into perfect and final glorification (Rom 8:29-30). The destiny of a Christian is assured. Our hope is a conviction of a glorious future filled with the riches, beauty, peace, joy, and love of God (Titus 3:7, Phil 1:21).
The Wisdom of the World and Christian Hope
- In contrast to the Christian (1 Thess 4:13; 2 Cor 5:6-8), the World and its wisdom (1 Cor 1:18-19; 3:19-20) has no hope, in this world or the one to come.
- The Christian has a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Jesus conquered death and the fear of death, once and for all, for all who believe (John 11:25-26;1 Pet 3:4).
- Christ has assured us of an eternal dwelling place and relationship with Him (John 14:1-3).
- Physical death is the end of suffering, tears, and pain for the believer (2 Cor 5:6-8; Rom 8:18; Rev 21: 3-5a). The Christian not only has hope for the future beyond the grave, but also hope for our present life full of trials, tribulations, and suffering (Rom 5:3-5; Rom 15:3; 1 Pet 3:15).
- Nothing can separate us from God’s love that motivated Him to send His Son to die for us. (Rom 8:38-39).
Celebration of Life in the Face of Death
The day of death of a believer is a day of celebration of the life of an overcomer. It is a day of loss for us who stay behind, but, our loss is his/her and heaven’s gain. The race has been run. The believer is now in glory beholding the very face of our Savior. For the believer who is in Christ there is no more suffering, pain, misery, sin, or death for all eternity.
The issue now for each and every person on the planet today and all those we know is ….Who will accept the Person and work of Jesus on the cross and become one who overcomes the world by faith? Once we have placed saving faith in the eternal salvation offered by Jesus Christ, the issue now becomes will we walk by faith in obedience to His Spirit and word? These choices of life and death are ours to make.
The Focus of Our Hope
Jesus Christ has made these issues very clear by all that He said and did.
I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and He who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:35
I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life. John 8:12
I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9
I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. John 10:11
I am the resurrection and the life… John 11:25
I am the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Today, whether one needs regeneration from a dead life as an unbeliever, or truth, light, and love for a Christian daily walk, it can only be found in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. His is the Name that is above all names – our Lord and Savior.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25