The disasters our world is facing today should remind us that our lives are no more certain than the lives of early Christians. With all our scientific advances, we cannot stop droughts or prevent wildfires. With all our medical expertise, we cannot yet end the present pandemic or forecast the next one. We may live longer on average, but none of us are guaranteed another day. Nonetheless, I do not sense true urgency among many Christians in America. We may believe theologically that Jesus could return tomorrow or we could die today, but we need to translate this belief into practice. The more urgent our faith, the more earnestly we will share the gospel, stand courageously for our Lord, and live ready to stand before him one day.
Many in our secular culture caricature Christians as weak. Friedrich Nietzsche warned that faith in God would keep us from becoming the “overcomers” we could and should be. Karl Marx taught that religion is the “opiate” of the masses subjugating them to their masters. “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” is the way many people see our Savior.
But those who know Him know better.
If we are going to trust our lives and our eternities to the God of the Bible, how can we know that he keeps these promises? Comparing current Bibles to ancient manuscripts shows that the Bibles we have today are remarkably accurate. Evidence from archaeology and fulfilled prophecy substantiates biblical truth claims. Contemporary stories of lives transformed by God’s presence and power demonstrate his continuing relevance to our world.
Today, let’s think about this pressing subject not for nonbelievers but for Christ-followers. After nearly forty years of pastoral ministry, I can testify that Christians can also be fearful of death. While we know that Jesus is our Savior and that our eternal life is guaranteed by his grace (cf. John 3:16; John 11:26), we can nonetheless fear death for several reasons.