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by Randy Becton

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    The Bible makes clear that because we sin, we die. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. (Romans 5:23)

    Also, the Bible makes clear that Adam and Eve enjoyed being with God before they sinned. Afterward, things got complicated ... guilt and fear entered into the human vocabulary and stress became a real life problem — rather, I should write, disease and distress became man’s lifestyle. From then on men and women started running away from encounters with God, rather than running into his arms with laughter and joy (like a child who hears dad’s car pull into the driveway, then bolts out the front door to be swept up into dad’s big protective arms of love).

    Today’s secular man claims to be in charge of his life, but behind closed doors he shudders with apprehension and anxiety over a long list of things that can go wrong, preventing him from enjoying his spare time or his expensive toys. What good is a large boat if the insurance is too high, maintenance too expensive and frequent, and ownership is a big headache?

    Dr. Sherwin Nuland, M.D., burst into this world’s scene as a first time author whose book HOW WE DIE: Reflections On Life’s Final Chapter (Knapp: New York, 1994) became a conversation-starter and conversation-stopper as soon as it was released. Nuland wrote of the details about death that physicians already know, but “laymen”, everyday people, do not. In addition to being a realistic book, I found it to be a vivid reminder of mortality.

    In Ecclesiastes, God gave us these words: “so teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” We were meant to understand that our lives have a beginning and an end, and that we should live our years in “the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom.”

    The declaration of the gospel clearly stands on the truths that:

  • Jesus has done away with sin’s lock on mankind by the sacrifice of himself.
  • Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.
  • Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people.
  • He will appear a second time to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:26-28)

    The writer of Hebrews, attempting to renew the believers’ confidence, taught that Jesus suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone . . . and his willing sacrifice destroys the devil who holds the power of death, and frees those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

A life free of fear must be a life filled with purpose...
    But a life free of fear must be a life filled with purpose, and seeking to accomplish goals. Jesus told his disciples “I have meat to eat that you don’t know about” and that, “my ‘food’ is to accomplish my father’s will and to bring my father glory.” Accomplishing the Father’s purpose for him energized Jesus. Nothing deterred him from his purpose — neither the praise of the people (some wanted him to be “King”) or the ugly hatred of betrayal (the kiss from a disciple).

    Recently, I was visiting with a woman whose age I’d guess at being in the middle fifties. She openly doubted that her life had any meaning at all! She thinks she has maybe ten years left, but acknowledges that they are not dedicated to any higher purpose other than family joy (grandchildren) and her hobby (antique furniture). My heart was heavy with pain for her. I felt no superior feelings at all. I’m a sinner, moved by a merciful Savior. I’ve been brought from the precipice of death back to life four times. I’m under divine obligation to tell God’s goodness and saving mercy in my life. My friend has also been delivered. But she focuses on her aches and pains and the inattentiveness of her husband and daughter.

    Is life sweet or is it bitter? The clock is ticking. No matter what time it is in your life, it’s always “remembrance” day. God’s goodness is every day’s storyline — or, rather, headline . As fast as time is going it is always the right time to praise God for his great gifts to us. Read through the Psalms and count the times that God’s gifts are named and praise is given to Him.

    Eunice is 98 and nearly blind. Because of her faith in God and joy in Jesus she says, “Isn’t today beautiful?” She sees it on the deepest level, as God’s gift of life. To Eunice God’s gifts are beautiful through the eyes of faith. As your clock ticks, is salvation through Jesus more beautiful than even before? I thought so.


Are you presently experiencing a new life? God’s word says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” This new life is a free gift of God through faith Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about this life that only Jesus can give you, sign up for one of our Bible courses. Wherever you are in life, whatever you’ve done, you can begin again. You may also contact Randy Becton at rbecton@heraldoftruth.org if you have questions about becoming a new creation.

 
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      © 2003, Herald of Truth and Randy Becton, Herald of Truth. Used by permission.

      Title: ""
      Author: Randy Becton
      Publication Date: July 3, 2003


 
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