December 18, 2020

Should Christians Be Afraid of Death?

1 Corinthians 15:20-26

The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

—  1 Corinthians 15:26

While visiting an elderly member of our church, I read the passage in John 14:1-6 where Jesus promises to prepare a place for us. When I was finished reading, she said she did not understand why it should take the Lord so long to get her place ready. She added, “I don’t need anything fancy.” Instead of being afraid of death, she could not wait to be with the Savior.

But not every Christian faces death without fear. Shortly before he died, my dad asked, “Will God accept me when I die? So much has gone wrong in my life.” Someone else asked me, “Will everything be all right when I die?”

If you are afraid of death, be willing to admit it. The apostle Paul calls death “our last enemy.” We have been created to live. It was the fall into sin that brought death into our lives. It’s natural for us to want to live and keep on living. So it’s also natural to fear death, which can be painful and scary—even terrifying. But Jesus came to free us from sin and from the threat of death. He gave up his own life for our sake, and then he rose from the dead, so “death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54). Only the Lord can take away our fear of death.

We have the guarantee that even as we near death, we don’t have to be afraid because God will be there with us and will take us to live with him!

Lord Jesus, thank you for overcoming death for us. Please be close to us when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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