Guest Blog by Thompson Lengels

Personal Meditation on Death and Dying
by ThompsonLengels / March 19, 2022
(with minor edits for spelling, syntax and references)

Fear of Death

Satan has a season when he loves to prick the saint’s conscience — their dying day!  Alas, he comes with all those failing spots to which the saint has succumbed! (Psalm 90:7-8)

When he comes, we may as well say to him:  It is true, Satan. I have failed often, more so, broken asunder to despair and despondency.  But also, listen.  Christ accepted me in my wicked state; died for me while a whore, a swearer, a guiler, an idolater, adulterer, a fornicator, and all the filthy exercises about which you think.  I say Christ died for me in all this mud of sin (Romans 5:8).  All that is good in me is but by His unmerited grace, undeserved mercy.

Death, to a Christian, is a doorway to glory.  To live in Christ is to keep in step with Christ.  So also, he that would die well must never put off the inevitability of death — he must live as a dying man.  The Christian’s death is the ending of his troubling sins, an entrance to a land where sin and sorrow are no more.  We must look at death as a thing we must meet, and look upon ourselves as a thing with which we must part.

It is never too soon to make friendship with death.  We never get what we think we want because God always gives us what we need.  One day our need will be death.

SkullDeath is gain; freedom from doubt and unbelief.  In Heaven our faith will be turned into sight.  Here the best are liable to doubt about their personal piety, and often experience many an anxious hour in reference to this point.  In Heaven doubt will be known no more.

Death is the grave of all temptations.  A Christian’s death delivers them from the second death.  Put another way, a Christian dies natural to live eternal.  In Heaven there are no graves, but eternal grace.

After our death, we will be met by our believing loved ones who went ahead of us to be with Christ.  O beloved Christian, why fear death?  It is natural to fear death, but we may meet it with faith in Christ.

Time PassingWhen death knocks at your door, don’t murmur and grumble about it.  Rejoice, you are going Home at last!  Does the prisoner, long confined in a dungeon, dread the hour which is to open his prison, and permit him to return to his family and friends?  Does the man in a foreign land, long an exile, dread the hour when he shall embark on the ocean [or the sky] to be conveyed to where he may embrace the friends of his youth?  Does the sick man dread the hour which restores him to health; the afflicted, the hour of comfort?  The wanderer at night, the cheering light of returning day?

And why, then, should the Christian dread the hour which will restore him to immortal vigor?  Which shall remove all his sorrows?  Which shall introduce him to everlasting day?  Smile at death when your time draws nigh.

Death is an awful reality to men who have made this world their only home and the things of this world their only possessions.  Do not waste any unnecessary time below here.  Let us live as diligent laborers in a field full of harvest, harvesting men to Christ Jesus.

Live as men who appreciate the world, but let us live like men who are more in love with the world to come, the world of Christ Jesus.  To die and be with Christ is the final pilgrimage of the wounded saint.  The saint finally meets with Eternal Rest and Blessed Felicity.

The door of death is inscribed thus: “Prepare to meet your God!”  Christ is best!

Death is sleep. “The girl is not dead but sleeping.” (Luke 8:52)  The natural man is tempted to laugh.  You’re wise and know how to apply.  Death will very soon reveal the children of God and the devil.

We must have our heart and mind in Heaven if we are to look at death with courage in Christ.  “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).  So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

Beware of head-knowledge in the face of death!  It will not comfort you.  How is your heart and way of life instructed by your accumulated knowledge on the things of God?  Do you know God, or things about God?  That’s the question!  Be honest with yourself!

I’ve observed humble men die well.  Improve life by dying daily to self and enrich the soul by being alive in Christ.  I am homesick for Heaven.

You’re not too young to die.  Make peace with God.  This old fellow knows his time is nigh.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  Make no permanent nest in this world.  Death is a golden carriage that lifts the soul to a golden city, a celestial city.  Fellow mortal, cease playing Immortal.

Cemetery at GettysburgThe whole world is a big cemetery of dead men walking.  Those that resolve to repent tomorrow intend to be wicked today.  A delay of repentance breastfeeds and strengthens our sin — and the wages of sin is death!  (Romans 6:23)

The conversion of the thief at the cross is not a canon that all of us are guaranteed conversion to Christ at our death-bed.

We read in the Holy Scriptures of men who were called at their infancy such as Jeremiah, Samuel and John the Baptist.  Some were chosen in their prime age of youth like the four Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel.  Others were called in their advanced adulthood such as the disciples, John, James, Peter, and Andrew.  Other were called while carrying out their business of the day as Matthew, the tax-collector and Luke, the physician.  Others were called while in their sin-business as the forgiven harlot and the woman at Jacob’s well.  Others while gazing at a fig tree or climbing a sycamore as Nathanael and Zacchaeus.  Still others were called in their old age as Joseph of Arimathea and the Jewish scholar, Nicodemus.  And last of all, at their death-bed — the thief at the cross!

Dead TreeThere’s no such thing as purgatory and indulgences.  When you die, you are dead!  And all must die!  If not now, tomorrow.  If not tomorrow, the next day.  If not the next day, then, the following day.  If not the following day, … then the next!

We can only sing, “Death has lost its sting,” (Hosea 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55) if we truly understand what the cross of Christ accomplished for us.

Rest In Peace

Death laughs at bags of gold.  Death is a level ground where the rich and poor; proud and humble; high and low; prince and peasant, all lay and become wholesome meal for the worm. (Job 21:23-26)  A man’s life, however great it was, is always summarized by this little word — Death!

Jesus Christ not only died.  He conquered death by death itself!  Christ stung death to death!
He is our resurrection!

It’s not what you do; it’s Who you know.

“I want to be as one with Him. I could not be right with God by what the Law said I must do. I was made right with God by faith in Christ. I want to know Him.”   Paul, Philippians 3:9-10

Recalling a friend in high school who began reading in Genesis, he came to a couple of us with a blush and said, “Man, all those guys in the Bible sure got to know their wives!”  In the mid-60s this was as close as we got to describing the sex act.  He was referring, of course, to such passages as Genesis 4:1 and 4:25, where “Adam knew his wife and she conceived” and bore children.  We almost considered it Biblical porn, but the point was that to “know” someone had an effect.

This was more than just recognizing Eve across the forest and realizing she was not another animal; more than just mental assent to her identity.  This “knowledge” was experiential; a “knowing” like no other, an intimate intertwining of their lives in joy and ecstasy, and a feeling of completion.  This is how Father in Heaven wants us to know Him.

From the evening conversations Adam and Eve had with God in the cool of the day, men drifted away from knowledge of the Holy One so that by the seventh generation, “people began to call on the name of Yahweh.” (Genesis 4:26)   In other words, they did not know Him anymore, and had to seek Him.  They had to look for ways to interact with Him, because we were withdrawn from Him.

But the recognition of the value of knowing God, more than just a theology about Him, was never completely lost.  David, many centuries later, would challenge his son, Solomon with these words, And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you . . .”  (1 Chronicles 28:9)

The prophets knew this God intimately.  For example, Isaiah spoke on God’s behalf when he said, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)   This along with many other statements by the prophets revealed a relationship much deeper than mere religious practice, much more personal than a set of liturgical instructions.

Fast forward another thousand years and Jesus declared, This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)  Note He did not say, “This is eternal life, to get a seminary degree . . .” nor “. . .to live a clean and moral life.” nor “. . .to attend a church and do missionary work.”  Now if you interact with Him, He may tell you to do some of these things, but these are the results of knowing Him, not the other way around.  We do not get to know Him by doing good things, rather we do good things because He is living in us, and we know Him.

How do we get to know Him?  The same way you get to know a husband or wife; the same way you know your sibling or parent, the same way you know your best friend.  Once the introduction is made, you spend time together; you compare interests; you share with each other what you are doing. (see August 20, 2016 and August 28, 2016

Of course, you can read about Him, look at how He behaves in certain situations and what He has done with others, but that only tells you about Him.  I highly recommend that you inform your relationship with Him by reading the Bible, but never mistake reading an ocean chart for sailing on the ocean!  Read all about Him and those who knew Him while He was physically present on Earth; read and talk with others who know Him and share together what He and all of you talk about.  Get to know Him as Paul was desiring to do.

“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now you have come to know God.” (Galatians 4:8-9)

“It is one thing to understand a theology of God. It is quite another to experience God in real life.” Bruce Smith