by Matt Slick
Funerals are sober reminders of our own mortality. They have a way of quietly bringing us face-to-face with the fact that one day we will die. Death is a patient and perpetual enemy that reduces all our arguments about life down to one truth: one day, we will die. But, for the Christian, this death is simply a step to the fullness of life in the presence of the Lord Jesus in whom we have placed all of our hopes and confidence. We know that death is not the end, and so at funerals, especially of those of believers, we have a future hope that we see our loved ones again. We are comforted by this, and the pain is made more bearable.
But what about the non-Christian? For them, death will be an awakening. Right now, they are not aware that death's present sleep is allowing them to have a false sense of security. One day, for them, death will awaken and claim them and when it does, they, too, will awaken to the harsh reality that there is a pure and holy God who requires purity in His presence, a purity that they do not possess. For now, they lost fight against God by not submitting to Him. They are fleeing the truth of God's love and God's Son. But the sting of death will abruptly awaken them. Then they will see the spiritual reality and realize that they have lived a false dream without God all the while not worrying about what the future will bring. They will weep on that day when they no longer sleep.
The sleep now holds the lost, who walk
In dream of hope and foolish thought.
They wait the day of awakening,
By death, execution, the great happening.
They lived a dream, of hope, less God.
They lived and knew His history.
That day they'll see, and so they'll weep,
That day when no longer they sleep.
Death is not the most pleasant subject. But it is an important one because death is the result of sin in the world and sin and death are all around us. Sin brought death. "The sting of death is sin . . . " (1 Cor. 15:56).
If you are not a believer in the true Jesus (God in flesh, John 1:1, 14, risen from the dead, John 2:19-21), then you are now dead in your trespasses in sins (Eph. 2:1). The only way to escape the righteous judgment of God upon you is to receive Jesus (John 1:12), to call upon His name (Rom. 10:9-10), and to trust in Him alone for the forgiveness of your sins so that you might be made right before God (Rom. 5:1).
If you are a believer, then you already know what it means to be forgiven and to have the hope of the future resurrection in Christ. We look forward, with hope and joy, to that day when death will free us from our bonds of flesh so that we might forever dwell with the Lord. We are not asleep. We are alive and well in Christ. And when He returns, or the rapture happens, or our bodies fail us, we will live with Him forever and ever.