Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | May 13, 2006

A Certain Thing

It has been said that their only two things we can know for sure in life, death and taxes.  The latter item we experience everyday by paying sales tax, gasoline tax, state disability insurance tax, income tax, phone tax, cable tax, property tax, energy tax, estate tax, capital gains tax and social security tax.  I know about all of these various taxes, because I have kept track of all the taxes I have been charged for the last 6 years or so.  All together these taxes comprise a large sum of money that is paid to Uncle Sam every year.  The former item is something that every human being in history either has or will experience at some point in time.  Although, it is a very common event to all it is not easy to deal with or even talk about.

We all experience death due to the consequences of sin against our Creator.  The severity of this consequence should give us an idea of the severity of sin.  As we’ve been discussing the last few weeks the severity of sin is also evident due to the solution that was required to resolve our sin in the death of our Savior.  Today we are reviewing Question 42 of the Heidelberg Catechism, which asks the following concerning death:

Q. Since Christ has died for us, why do we still have to die?

A. Our death does not pay the debt of our sins. 1 Rather, it puts an end to our sinning and is our entrance into eternal life. 2

1 Psalm 49:7:  No man can by any means redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for him…
2 John 5:24:   Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death unto life.  Philippians 1:21-23:  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.  But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better…1 Thessalonians 5:9-10:  For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.

It is a great relief to know that someday we will no longer sin or be exposed to the ramifications of sin.  Except by the grace of God, our lives would be extremely worse if the full magnitude of our sins were allowed to remain unchecked.  Even with an abridged degree of exposure to sin it is still a burden that we must contend with in this life.  The effects of sin are all around us at every moment in every thought.  Every deed that we perform is tainted by sin in some form or fashion.  Regardless if it is intentional or unintentional we are forced to suffer with the consequences of sin, which causes us to cry out for God’s mercy.  Of course, for the Christian these are not eternal consequences, however the temporal consequences are miserable enough to endure.  As the catechism states it is a good thing that death continues since it allows us to escape this life of sin and enter a sinless existence.

It is impossible to imagine our life without the presence of sin.  We can acknowledge the concept of this and believe that it is true, however to really fathom the implications of this paradigm shift in our lives as we know it is difficult.  We can eagerly anticipate the realization of this change, hope and contemplate how wonderful it will be.  However, to accurately understand what a great blessing it will be can only be achieved when we get there.  Thus, we can only press on in this world, place our trust in God’s providence and persevere in our faith until that glorious day becomes reality.  This is a message that is not usually emphasized, especially in our day of therapeutic self-help Christianity.  However, it is something we should meditate on as John Calvin states in his Institutes:            

Let the aim of believers in judging mortal life, then, be that while they understand it to be of itself nothing but misery, they may with greater eagerness and dispatch betake themselves wholly to meditate upon that eternal life to come. III.IX.4
 

Death is a necessary step that we shall all have to face in our lives.  It will be the vehicle in which we will enter a sinless state of eternal life.  To know that this magnificent blessing will be ours someday only aids us to be more thankful for our Savior and what He has done to save us.  Death will allow us the opportunity to thank and praise Him in person for the rest of eternity.

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