Recently I have been dealing with the issues of death on the behalf of others. This has led me to some observations about the circumstances that many Christians face concerning death as they come face to face with this final hurdle in life.
Many Christians have never spent a lifetime under one local church and its particular teachings of the Scriptures. The real fact of the matter is, many Christians have been under the tutelage of many sources for their spiritual understanding and growth in their lives. These sources may come from books, church classrooms, Christian education, Christian parents, or even their Christian music. When death finally comes knocking on one’s door, the real questions in life comes in the form of doubts, questions or lack of assurance to the truth of the matter. Is the God I have served real? Is there a real place called heaven and hell; and the two biggest questions for some Christians are, have all my sins really been forgiven, and have I lived a good enough life?
There are those within the Christian community that teach that you can lose your salvation and thus when death comes to their door, they begin to doubt. There are those Christian Communities that teach a legalistic view of the faith and when death comes to the door for them, doubt creeps in; have I been good enough? Have I been obedient in all things? Have I confessed every sin? And the ultimate question; does God really love me?
It is my hope within this conversation that some light to these many questions and feelings of inadequacy can be faced, and assurances can be provided in aid to those out there now facing such important and difficult issues.
To begin a foundation to understanding these issues, allow me to remind us all of four things God cannot do:
- God cannot lie. (Titus 1:2)
- God cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)
- God cannot be tempted by evil. (James 1:13)
- God cannot change his nature. (Malachi 3:6)
How should we understand these statements? God cannot lie—meaning every statement God makes or principle he teaches within his written word is true. This is why Jesus stated in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth, they word is truth,” thus strengthening King David’s statement,” The sum of Thy word is truth, And every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting.” (Psalm 119:160; NASB)
God cannot deny Himself. This answers the question, can God make a rock he cannot move? The answer is NO! Why? Because then God would have to deny his power or nature, and since he cannot do that, he cannot make such a rock to start with. So in the end, God can do anything he wills, and no one can oppose him. God has absolute sovereign authority and power to carry out his will and desires, only limited by his own nature.
God cannot be tempted by evil. This means Satin or any other entity cannot temp God to change his goodness or purpose or nature. Therefore, God is the opposite of evil.
God cannot change his nature. This attribute of God sums up the other three “cannot” statements. There is nothing about God’s nature that can change. And as Malachi 3:6 states: “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” (NASB) If God states he cannot lie, then that could never change! If God says he cannot be tempted by evil, that can never change! If God says he cannot deny Himself, then that can never change!
These four facts about God build the foundation to all other teaching within the Scriptures. Let us apply what we now know.
The Apostle Paul writes, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:7-14; NASB)
Let us combine this word with another statement:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,
‘For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39; NASB)
Allow me to sum up these thoughts. Those that have placed their faith in Christ and his actions on the Cross, on their behalf—alone, have been sealed by the Holy Spirit with a promise of guaranteed inheritance of eternal life. And there is nothing that can change that or separate you from God—not even death. Why, because God cannot lie, God cannot deny Himself, God cannot be tempted by evil that could change anything about Himself and finally, God cannot change his nature. If God says he loves you, you can count on that, if God says you are sealed, protected, secure in him for your salvation, you can never ever lose that because God cannot lie. Therefore just remember these things about God and read his written word to you and just have faith and believe in Jesus Christ’s work on the cross for you. Salvation comes through Christ alone, plus nothing and minus nothing. The conditions of salvation are repentance and faith. How do we know this? Ephesians 2: 8 and 9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast.” (NASB) And, “… how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:20-21; NASB)
So now go in peace, believing what God states in his written word to you, and begin to live life by faith and not by sight. — “for we walk by faith, not by sight” — (2 Cor. 5:7; NASB)