Musings 112

Romans 14:8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”

Acts 13:36 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay;

Matthew 18:8 “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire.

Philippians 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

Philippians 1:23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;

The thoughts of death are not pleasant to many, perhaps very few. But for Paul he thought it was much better to depart and be with Christ rather than stay on this earth. He longed for Christ to be exalted in his body, whether by life or by death. This is to say that his greatest goal was to exalt Christ and he did not care whether it was by life or death that it happened. This is not a prevalent thought in our day and perhaps in any other day either. But it seems from the whole of Scripture that Paul was more biblical in this way of thinking than any other.

Romans 14:8 teaches us whether we live or die we are the Lord’s. That seems like a simple teaching in some ways, but if we truly take this teaching to heart it changes everything. What it teaches us is that we are the Lord’s and we are at His disposal. He is the Master and it is His decision of how and when to dispose of us. Whether we live or die we are the Lord’s and we live for Him and we die for Him. It seems like such a simple statement, but how profound it is to be faced with death and then sweetly submit to His sovereign hand in the midst of it.

Revelation 14:13 speaks of how blessed those are who die in the Lord. While we usually don’t think of the blessedness of death, that is what this text sure seems to teach. We read the Beatitudes and they tell us how blessed people are who are poor in spirit, who mourn, and who are meek. The Beatitudes are so backwards or contradictory to all that the world thinks of as blessed. They even speak of how blessed people are when others persecute them and revile them. But Revelation 14:13 seems to go even farther and tells us that dying in the Lord means that we are blessed.

These verses give us an eternal view of things. We are to view life and death and all things through the lenses of Christ and His rule over His people. True blessedness is to have Christ rather than to be like the world. True blessedness is to have Christ than to have the things of the world. Having Christ is the greatest blessing that there is in this world and even more so in the next. When the soul that has Christ passes from this world to the next, the person will have even more of Christ there and as such the soul who has more of Christ is blessed. The soul that has Christ in the next life will have Christ without the taste and blindness of sin.

It is a great blessing to have Christ and it is a great blessing to die in the Lord. Yes, it will sound strange to the world and it will sound strange to those in the local professing churches who don’t really get these things. However, the words of Christ through Paul and John are testimonies to the reality of these things. The Lord Jesus is the greatest blessing to all who have Him in truth. The Lord Jesus Himself is who we should seek in this life above and beyond all other things. We should seek Him now with all of our being knowing that in eternity we will be filled with Him and His glory to a degree that we cannot imagine in this life.

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