Death is not the end

Jesus said:

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” (Luke 12:4-5)

For the Christian, death is not the end of our existence.

Jesus promised that for those who believe in him there is a hope of living again after we die:

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28-29)

This means that a Christian can face the coronavirus crisis without fear. The worst thing the coronavirus can do is kill us, yet it can do nothing to separate us from the promise Jesus made of another life after this one.

In fact there is nothing in this world that can. Paul, the greatest church teacher after Jesus himself, put it like this:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39)

Yet Jesus said some people who had heard his message would not receive this promise of life, but would instead receive condemnation.

How can this be if there is nothing that can separate a Christian from Jesus’ love and the promise he made?

There is only one thing that can take this promise away from us and that is the set of choices we make in life.

If we hear Jesus’ message and choose to ignore it, or if we allow other things to take priority over it, or if we live in a way that shows we would rather listen to our own hearts than to Jesus, then we risk separating ourselves from him.

If all of our energy and emotion are poured into preserving our own safety and comfort in this life, if this life is the only one we think about, then this life may be the only one we are given.

Does that mean what happens in this life is unimportant? Of course not. Jesus looks at the choices we make and the attitude we display now as evidence that we have or have not made him the number one priority in our lives.

This life also gives us the opportunity to tell others about Jesus so that they can make the same choice for themselves.

While a Christian can face the coronavirus without fear, that does not mean we shouldn’t care. We should care greatly about the suffering of others and what we might be able to do to help them.

The crisis is far from over and there is no way of knowing how long it will last or what the sum total of the devastation will be, but as Christians we can have peace in the knowledge that whatever the near future may bring, it cannot pursue us beyond the end of this life.

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