(The following is the October 16 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Hebrews 2 and pay close attention to verses 14-15.)
It’s common for people to fear death from whatever age they begin to grasp its seriousness. A child may encounter death by losing a pet or older family member, raising questions adults try to answer in simple terms. As one reaches adulthood, the ponderings move to more profound questions about what comes after this life. Some avoid thinking about it, but the reality of death is always present and frequently forced to our attention by events around us. Fear can be a frequent companion of such musings. Christians, however, need not fear death. Our hope and confidence in eternal life should positively shape our attitudes and emotions in anticipation of the life to come.
Hebrews’ author reminds us that we can be free from the fear of death because of what Jesus has done and who we are in our relationship with him. “Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death” (vv. 14-15). Jesus defeated death, and we no longer need to fear what he has conquered and promises to conquer for his children.
Spurgeon wrote, “There is no true deliverance from the fear of death except by looking to him whose death is the death of death.” Once we grasp the significance of this truth that we, as God’s children, can live without fearing death, we can share that same hope with others who still are “held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.” That is too glorious a message to keep to ourselves.
When did you first become conscious of death? How has your understanding of it changed through the years?