Whether we like it or not, the Coronavirus has brought death to the forefront of our minds…
Whether we like it or not, we currently have an acute awareness of our own mortality and the mortality of our loved ones…
Before I became a Christian, the idea of death troubled me greatly. All I knew was that death meant that this life was over. I didn’t know what happened next; I could only imagine a dark abyss, and that terrified me. Throughout my childhood, and into early adulthood, I had regular nightmares about death and this unknown darkness. I feared the finality of death.
But as a Christian, I know that death is not the end. It is not something to be feared.
In Psalm 90:12, David calls on God to “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom”. God calls us to remember our mortality. This life is not meant to be forever. But death is not the end…
For those who trust in Jesus, death is the beginning of eternity with God. Our sinful nature separates us from God. But when you put your trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus, you are declared righteous. You are at peace with God. You can have an eternal relationship with Him, your heavenly Father, enjoying His love and care for you:
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
Romans 5: 1-2
One day, Jesus will come again, and our physical bodies will be resurrected:
“For the Lord, himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16
We will return again to our human bodies (Philippians 3:20-21), bodies which “are going to be renewed, restored, revitalised*”.
There will be a new heaven and a new earth. The world that we currently live in will be renewed. Heaven is a real place, which will too be renewed and joined with the new earth. God’s home will be with us there. Our God will live with us and among us forever. We will have renewed bodies, eat and drink, and enjoy life with God there:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away ‘.”
This brings a special type of hope. When we put our trust in Jesus, we are in that moment saved and at peace with God. We can enjoy this salvation now, while also looking forward to the future reality of Jesus coming again, our bodies being renewed and restored, and dwelling with God forever in the new Jerusalem. In his book ‘Surprised by Hope’, N. T. Wright puts it like this:
“Salvation, then, is not “going to heaven” but “being raised to life in God’s new heaven and new earth.” But as soon as we put it like this, we realize that the New Testament is full of hints, indications, and downright assertions that this salvation isn’t just something we have to wait for in the long-distance future. We can enjoy it here and now (always partially, of course, since we all still have to die), genuinely anticipating in the present what is to come in the future. “We were saved,” says Paul in Romans 8:24, “in hope.”
Perhaps the Coronavirus pandemic has caused you to question your purpose, to wonder about life after death…
Perhaps it has filled you with fear and anxiety, just like it has for me…
Come to Jesus.
Put your trust in His saving sacrifice on the cross.
Rejoice in the sure and certain hope of His resurrection.
Look forward to the reality of eternal life with your Heavenly Father.