Q: #319. I am a Christian, but I am afraid to die!
By: Steve Shirley
A: Let me start with a question: Who do you love more than anyone? For a Christian, this answer should be the Lord. So, if this is the case, shouldn't dying be EXCITING? It will finally be our opportunity to meet in person, and spend ETERNITY with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit! We will also get to see our brothers and sisters in Christ through all of the ages, including any of our family and friends in Christ who have gone on before us! Plus, the place where we will meet them will be AMAZING! (Read here for a small description of Heaven.)
Paul shares his excitement about this in Philippians saying: (Phil 1:21-24)(NASB) saying: "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (22) But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. (23) But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; (24) yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake." Paul was saying it would be wonderful to die so that he could see Christ, but he decided that staying on Earth was more necessary at that time so that he could help others to know Christ.
As Christians, Heaven is a place we have spent our lives preparing for. It is a place where we have laid up treasures (Mt 6:19-21)(Mt 19:21)(Mk 10:21)(Lk 12:33-34)(Lk 18:22). It is a place where our citizenship is (Phil 3:20). We are not a part of this world (Jn 17:14), but instead are aliens and strangers here (1 Pet 2:11)(Heb 11:13)(1 Pet 1:17). Here are a few good quotes I like on this:
If you are a Christian, you are not a citizen of this world trying to get to heaven; you are a citizen of heaven making your way through this world. - Vance Havner
My home is in Heaven. I'm just traveling through this world. - Billy Graham
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. - C.S. Lewis
As Christians, we have this promise of eternal life in Heaven because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus' resurrection from the dead is a key component of our faith, and a sign to all believers that because He overcame death, we can as well through Him. (2 Tim 1:10) says, "but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." Christ has abolished death, meaning we need not fear it. While our body may die, our soul and spirit live forever "immortally" with the Lord. (We will one day be reunited with our body as well: Q: #144.) Death is not final, but just another step in our lives. Two other verses also show us Jesus' victory over death:
(1 Cor 15:55-57) O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? (56) The sting of death is sin: and the strength of sin is the law. (57) But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Heb 2:14-15) Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (15) and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Paul also gives believers these comforting verses, assuring us that once we die, we are present with the Lord:
(2 Cor 5:6-8) Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (7) (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) (8) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
These assurances have comforted Christians for several thousand years. This is why saints, from the apostles to present day missionaries, have been willing to die for the sake of the Gospel.
I LOVE this quote from David Jeremiah:
"A man of God in the will of God is immortal until His work is done."
In other words, if we are in God's will, it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to die until we have finished God's plan for our lives. We should know and understand that God is in total control of our lives and that He has a perfect plan for each of us (Jer 29:11). He knows our every thought and everything we will do (Jer 23:23-24)(Heb 4:13). He promises to work all things for good (Rom 8:28). What the Lord asks of each believer is to totally submit to Him and lean on Him, and if we do this we can NEVER go wrong!
So, what is the best advice I can give to any Christian fearing death? I don't think you can go wrong with following these things: trust in God's promises, put God first in ALL things and before anyone (Lk 14:26-27), love God with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Lk 10:27)(Mk 12:30-31), obey God's commands, use your God-given gifts to bless others for God's glory, and die to the things of this world (Gal 5:24)(Col 3:5)(Eph 4:22). If you do, the future is even MORE exciting (see: Q: #89.)!
P.S. I should add here that for those who are non-Christians, death should be the most terrifying thing imaginable. There can be nothing worse than spending an eternity apart from the Lord in Hell, with all of its miseries. If you are a non-Christian who is reading this, PLEASE accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and avoid this miserable place. You can do this here. If you make this decision, everything we discussed above will apply to you .
P.S.S. One more thing I should add is that some people are afraid to die because they fear what would happen to loved ones they would leave behind. However, the Bible is filled with promises about how God will take care of both the widow and the fatherless: (Ps 68:5)(Ps 10:14)(Ps 146:9)(Deut 10:18)(Hos 14:3)(Ps 10:18). In addition, He commands His people to take care of the widow and the fatherless: (James 1:27)(1 Tim 5:3,16)(Deut 14:28-29)(Deut 24:19-22)(Deut 26:12-23)(Isa 1:17). (This support, prayer, and assistance is one reason why every Christian should be a part of a healthy, well-balanced church family.)