Free From Fear Of Death
Naturally we live until we die, and so we think that death is the end of our ambitions. But the Apostle Paul, chained in a cold dungeon, rejoiced even though he knew that his execution was close (2 Timothy 4:6-7). His confidence was not in his own life but in the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. Paul saw beyond suffering and death to the fullness of salvation in Christ, and the ongoing power of the gospel long after his death.
He rejoiced because the potency of his ministry would not end when he died, because the Word of God could never be chained or executed. The truth of what he had written, on parchment and on human hearts as the Holy Spirit inspired him, was indestructible. Paul’s gospel of God’s grace to the world would not stop when his body ceased to function. He had invested his life in proclaiming the truth about Jesus: wherever believers received that message, the Holy Spirit had the power to turn them into relay truth-transmitters. And so many generations have heard the gospel and many millions have received eternal life. Paul therefore urged Timothy not to fear death either: not only does faithful service bring the Master’s reward, but it also brings salvation to those who will listen and believe.
Fear of death is one of Satan’s most wicked deceits; it urges us to invest our lives in what we can gain from the world while we are alive, but it also traps us into being his slaves (Hebrews 2:14-15). Then we are afraid to serve the Lord and to risk everything for the sake of the gospel. Like Timothy, we need the encouragement to look beyond what we can get until we die, and focus on the eternal glory God will get as a consequence of our obedience. His ‘well done’ is reward enough. Today is a good day to review our ambitions and personal investments: will they be the means of blessing many others and bringing glory to the Lord, or are they only personal ambitions which have no value after death?
© Dr Paul Adams