15 Jan Words of Grace – Life and Death
There was a time when the sermons, songs, and conversations of the church reflected the Bible’s priority on life and death and on life in relation to death. It seems we have gotten away from this priority and shifted to themes more related to life only and to life disconnected from death.
I suspect one reason for this shift is our desire to figure out how Christianity relates to our present experiences with family, career, and the things of this world.
But the problem with separating life and death in our thinking and de-emphasizing the gospel perspective on death altogether is that we cannot know how to live now unless we understand what life will be after we die.
The apostle Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Paul is keeping life and death together in his thinking. He understands that the gospel speaks to both and that the two are related. The gospel is the good news of Christ. And Christ shapes the way we live now and determines our experience of life after we die. We can also say that the gospel tells us what life after we die will be like, so it shapes how we live now.
Life and death are opportunities to honor Christ because in each one people “in Christ” experience his grace. In life we experience the Lordship of Christ over us as forgiven and reconciled people. In death we experience the Lordship of Christ in a fuller measure that is described as “gain.” This is because when we die as Christians we will see Christ without the cloudiness of this life, we will know Christ without the partialness of this life, and we will be like Christ without the immaturity of this life. We will see him clearly, know him fully, and be like him maturely.
Since that is what life after we die will be, then that is what life now is becoming. Now we are to seek Christ, grow in knowledge of Christ, and conform our lives to the life of Christ.
This Sunday at Grace we will think together about life and death and how both relate to the good news of Jesus Christ.
Here is how you can prepare for Sunday: Read Philippians 1:18-26. Spend a few minutes making some observations from this passage about God, yourself, life, and death. Talk to someone about this passage and your observations. Pray for Grace Community Church and one other church in our city.