#Article (Archive)

Two ways to die (Part 4)

Feb 24, 2010, 12:01 PM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

How we live will most definitely influence where we would spend eternity - after we die. Death is the final lap in our sojourn here on planet earth. It is a decisive and irreversible end to life -whether lived with the fear of the Lord or lived for ourselves. Death is universal in character; that means all will die. It is "a place reserved for all the living." (Job 30:23) There is no escaping it, unfortunately.

There is no exception: "For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish." (Psalm 49:10) King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, stated: "No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death." (Ecclesiastes 8:8) Death is inevitable. The Bible teaches that we die only once and after that it is judgment. (Hebrews 9.27) All of us will have to go through this process because each of us is called to render account of how we have lived this life which in the first instance has been entrusted to us.

There are two ways to die - it does not matter how, when or where it occurs -. whether in an accident, in bed, in hospital or on the highway. The first death is when we die in our sins unforgiven because we have rejected the One who created life. (John 1:3; Hebrew 1:2); Our Lord Jesus asserted during an exchange with the Jews: "I told you that you will die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins." (John 8:24) The second way to die is when we die in the Lord - the death of the righteous.

The death of the wicked

The apostle Paul warned that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. "Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) In his letter to the Galatians he reiterated: "sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21)

This catalogue of evil deeds will not qualify anyone guilty of such acts for heaven and are a sure ticket for eternal damnation which is perpetual death. Nobody who does not live right is entitled to see God face to face.

The unrepentant sinner is guilty with no recourse to an advocate as s/he faces judgment on the day of the Lord. Those who have rejected Christ, those who have paid little heed to sin and have even forgotten their hideous crimes will stand before the judge, Jesus Christ -certain of being condemned to eternal death and suffering in hell.

When the rich man in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus died and went to hell he was tormented. He looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony and on fire.'  (Luke 16: 23-24)

In the parable, the rich man begged father Abraham to allow him to send Lazarus to his five brothers to warn them that hell was a place of torment. Abraham replied "They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them." (verse 28-29)

Our main concern on earth should be when I die where would I be? In order words where would I spend eternity? It does matter who we are listening to - to God's messengers or are we confiding in our intelligence and confidence.

If we are on the Lord's side we are like Lazarus. "the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side." (Luke 16:22) It will be this way with us when we die with the Lord. To live or die to the Lord implies that we are the Lord's; that we identify with him. For this simple reason death becomes an upgrading from a life fraught with problems to a problem-free life - a life that begins on an everlasting plane¸ eternally.

With Christ living in us dying - though it could be a painful thought and experience, becomes a phase in our lives that we are not afraid to travel. The apostle Paul declared that for him death has lost its sting because "For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21)

The true believing Christian dies confident that he is going to heaven because the Lord himself declared: "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also will be where I am." (John 14:2-3)

This constitutes the quality type of life that our Lord Jesus offers to all who believe he is the Son of God come to save sinners from eternal death and damnation.

How would you want to die? Would you want to live for this world and die with no hope for a future life of bliss but of hell fire. Let us live a life of hope and no tone of despair when death knocks on our doors.

When the angels rebelled against God led by Lucifer, they faced severe punishment and not one was spared. Peter one of the apostles captured this thus:

"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment." (2 Peter 2:4-9) 

The consequences of dying outside the realm of God's kingdom, is frightening. Hell fire is real so also is heaven.

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God." (Revelation 2:7)

One obvious way to die is to die in the Lord.