Dr. Sam Smith, Guest columnist
Jacksonville Daily Progress
“When Jesus was raised from the dead, it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end.”
Romans 6:5-6 MSG
Death. Is there any phenomenon that causes us any greater grief, or heartache or fear? We are all destined to face it. We do all within our power to avoid it, but the time will come when the life force will leave our physical vehicle.
Not a happy subject, is it? We had just as soon talk about anything else. Most of us are not as concerned about our own death as we are the death of our loved ones, but we would rather not think about it at all.
For Christians, however, there is a brighter way to look at death. Instead of fearing death as the end, we can look at death as the beginning. We are promised a better place when we leave this one. In fact, we are assured that we are destined for paradise, a perfect, beautiful heaven. Jesus came to show us the way. He lived, He died, He rose again. If we believe that He is who He said He was, we will do the same. Absent from the body, present with the Lord. [2 Corinthians 5:8]
Consider the thief on the cross next to Christ.
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." [Luke 23: 42-43]
Many of us have stood next to the casket of a loved one, concerned about their soul’s destination. “Did they know Jesus as Lord?” we ask. It is a sad occasion when an unsaved loved one dies. It is not our place to try and second-guess God about anyone’s salvation. We have heard it said that we will be surprised by who we see, and who we do not see, in heaven. We know God is a loving, faithful God, full of grace and mercy. We also know that there is only one way to heaven, Jesus the Christ.
The day will most assuredly come when we will complete our earthly journey. Only God knows the day. Of all the work and tasks and activities we perform while on earth, there is only one thing that will matter on that day. Did we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior? How much money we made, how many possessions we acquired, how much fame or attention we received will have no worth. Did we have a sincere, spiritual relationship with the Savior? It could be today. Are you ready?
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, except through me."
Dr. Sam Smith,