So often in the Bible we see a stark contrast between two and only two mutually-exclusive alternatives: the wise and foolish builders, the broad and narrow ways, God’s wrath and God’s mercy, etc.
Note this contrast:
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
What a contrast!
What is the deciding factor that determines which way we die? Our relationship to Jesus. Without Him, we have no forgiveness and we will die in our sins.
But if we have put on Christ, then that’s how we’ll die: in Him. Those who live and die in Christ have had their sin problem effectively removed by His blood (Romans 5:9; 1 John 1:7). No sin stands as a barrier between them and their holy God.
Lessons for us today: 1) The only way to be ready for death is to be in Christ. 2) The only way to be in Christ is through faith in Him and obedience to Him (Mark 16:15-16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Hebrews 5:8-9). There is no other way.
If we have put on Christ in baptism (Galatians 3:27), then let’s give top priority to: 1) maintaining our connection with Christ, never losing our grip on Him, our only hope (John 15:6; 2 Peter 1:3-11; 2:20-22); and 2) helping others find their hope in Him (1 Corinthians 9:19-22).
Then both we and they can fall asleep in Jesus.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/
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