7.7.08

what shall we do with death (part 3)...

(please read parts 1 and 2 below first, if not already):


it is at this point that one might begin to say, “alright...even if Jesus’ resurrection is proven, even if this God-man actually did rise from the dead, so what?”...so what does this have to do with us???

EVERYTHING

there was an occasion several years ago in which Dr. Ravi Zacharias was invited to deliver a series of lectures at the Lenin Military Academy and to participate in a round-table discussion at the Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow, Russia...present at the discussion were Dr. Zacharias, his wife, a colleague, and six Russian generals, all of which were athiests, except for one who called himself a deist...the one-and-a-half hour interaction between them was a momentous occasion for Dr. Zacharias, who was immediately aware that he was in a historic, almost holy, setting, for it was out of this grand structure that all of the previous general secretaries of the USSR had graduated...in the welcoming hall, Dr. Zacharias and the others were introduced to the great heroes of Russian warfare...Peter the Great, Kutusov, as well as the modern-day geniuses in geopolitical maneuvering...every facet of the building was pompous and stately, intended to make the individual feel small and insignificant...

as the conversation unfolded from early unease through robust debate and argumentation (most of which was based on topics such as the resurrection of Christ), all the way to a very warm and amiable conclusion, something incredible happened...one by one, each of the Russian generals conceded that Russia was now in a pathetic state, not just economically, but morally and spiritually...as the men stood up to bid Dr. Zacharias and the others goodbye, the senior-ranking general grasped Ravi’s hand, looked him in the eye, and said “Dr. Zacharias, I believe that what you have brought us is the Truth. But it is so hard to change after seventy years of believing so great a lie.”...these men, all but one who were athiests, saw absolutely no hope outside of Christ and His resurrection

it is here that we stand at a moment in history where once-Marxist nations admit to a dastardly experiment that has failed, an experiment that demonstrates beyond any doubt the dire consequences that are reaped when God is eliminated from the framework of life’s choices...those of us here in the West (America) are now moving towards the same ideological base, unwilling to believe what is the ultimate reality...in Russia, in the name of “equality,” the individual was offered at the alter of the state...what a blatant contrast this is to the value Christ places upon each individual life, when every facet of life, including death and its context, is given significance

”what shall we do with death?”

Jesus Christ, and His resurrection IS the answer to the question “what shall we do with death” because it takes the “we” out of the question...by rewinding the clock as though time never existed, He took what we fear the most and defeated it once and for all

there is something beyond the grave that we truly long for, and because of the resurrection, we are now promised the same destination that Christ had...if it was not what we longed for, why else would statistics say that 93% of Americans believe in some kind of an afterlife (even if they don't believe in God)? but even with this belief of an afterlife, most of us still fear death and walk around hopeless, wondering if this is all there is...as if we were placed here on this planet to be tortured with a longing for something more that will never be filled

the fact is, as C.S. Lewis said, “if I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I was made for another world...”

that world is eternity with our Creator, a REAL hope that we can live for

Dr. Zacharias says “It is this hope He brings that grants us hope for each individual, for our communities, and for our world. Without this hope of life beyond the grave, every question from love to justice becomes a mockery of the mind.”

our effort to live a noble life, chock-full of doing good works and charitable acts, all the while dying with no hope beyond the grave, is farcical at best

we must admit at some point that our world is in a state of alert...that if we take a close look at what is happening in our so-called “great” nation, and in others, the utter reality of our downward spiral stares us in the face...but once again, we do not want to admit our feat...we are afraid of the Truth, because we are afraid of ourselves...we are afraid of admitting we are wrong, that we have made things a mess...yet we try to make the most of life, to put into it all we have got, to live and die with some measure of integrity, all for what?

all for the fact that deep down, we wonder if up there somewhere there is Someone watching us, and we are afraid of the possibility of facing this Someone after death and having to stand in front of Him, explaining our attempts to live a good and noble life, only to fall undeniably short of the mark

the fact is, we DO fall short of the mark...but Christ, His death, and His resurrection, has enabled us to no longer fear whether we have done enough good or not when we stand before our Creator...we have not done enough good, nor will we ever be able to...the beauty of it all is that we do not HAVE to do anything to obtain a right standing before God

it was Jesus’ death that set us free from our sin, from our innate inability to be “good”, and it was His resurrection that has set us free from our fear of death...it was ultimately God’s love for us that did it all, because He could no longer stand to see us continue to walk the path we have been walking for so long

the only thing for us to do is admit that we have been wrong, accept what Christ has done for us, and live a new life...a life with the hope of what is to come, when we too will be resurrected and rejoice in eternity with the angels and our Savior who loved us enough to do it all



"For you have delivered me from death, and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God in the light of life."
~ Psalm 56:13


"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."
~ Psalm 23:4-6

2 comments:

Paul said...

With the thorough explanation of how we should precieve death, my next natrual thought is how then shall I live?

Romans 8:28-29 tells us how God desires us to be created into the image of His son, Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us in the New Testament that He did not come to be served, but instead to serve others; to put others needs and wants before His own (without compramising God's will). Apostle Paul tells us in his first letter to the Phillipians vs. 1:21 "To live is Christ,... to die is gain." Becoming a Christian for me, is not the end, but instead, just the beginning. Taking up my own cross in striving daily to become more like my dear Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sara said...

i agree wholeheartedly dear...it is Christ's death and resurrection that makes us alive and gives us the ability to become more like Him...and yes, following Christ is only the beginning...like in the Narnia stories, at the very end of The Last Battle, Aslan tells them that their time on earth was only the cover and title page...there was still the entire book of their eternal lives yet to be written! :)