For centuries explorers sought the mythical fountain of youth. In modern times some have turned to cryonic preservation — that is, having their bodies frozen at ultra-low temperatures after death. Their hope is that in the future medical discoveries will be made that will allow their bodies to be thawed out and restored to health. Behind these things is an often unspoken motivation — the fear of death.
I recall in my teen and early adult years having fear of death in the back of my mind. I believed in God, even though I had not committed my life to Him. I was fearful of exactly what might lie beyond the grave for me. Millions of others share these same fears. In fact, the Scripture above states that many people are “all their lives held in slavery by their fear of death.” This is not just a passing thought. For millions this dread of death is an all-their-life bondage. If this describes you, or someone you know, I want to share with you some great news!
Jesus died, and on the third day afterward He rose immortal, never again to be subject to death. And that is the liberating thought of this passage in Hebrews — that is, our Lord and Savior died and rose again to conquer death, not just for Himself but for us!
Before His death on the cross Jesus had told His followers that He would live again. And His death and subsequent resurrection to life would have eternally blessed consequences for those who choose to believe in and follow Him. Anticipating His own resurrection from the grave, Jesus said, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). I ask again: are you afraid to die? There’s no need to be, because Jesus has provided for you an eternal cure.
From the garden of Eden onward, sin has resulted in death, both naturally and spiritually. Adam and Eve were created perfect. But their sin led to their eventual death. And this death-from-sin verdict has passed down to all us sinful, mortal human beings. However, the good news is that, although we have no remedy to this within ourselves, Jesus paid the price for us and redeemed us from the curse of death. Oh, we still die biologically, yes. But what about beyond that?
The sin-induced curse of eternal damnation has been lifted by Jesus’ death and resurrection. And now we can partake of God’s free gift of eternal life by turning in sincere repentance and faith to the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the heart of what is called “the Gospel,” as the next Scripture so beautifully summarizes for us.
Rather than have us die in our sins, Jesus died for our sins. He took the punishment due to our sins upon Himself on the cross. The Gospel in a nutshell is that He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again to eternal life. By doing this, He opened the way for all who will receive Him to experience that same eternal life of blessedness in His presence forever.
In His death and resurrection Jesus conquered death and its effect on us. In its place He provides “life and immortality.” Just think of that word immortality. Almost the entire 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians describes the amazing consequences of the resurrection from the grave that is promised to all believers in Jesus Christ. When a believer in Christ dies, the body temporarily returns to the grave, but his or her spirit goes directly to the Lord’s presence in heaven. Ecclesiastes 12:7 (Amplified Bible) says of death for the believer, “Then shall the dust [out of which God made man’s body] return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God Who gave it.” The apostle Paul emphasized this great hope to New Testament believers in his own personal willingness to die and “be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
In the title of this message I wrote, “Here’s the Cure!” And that cure is quite simply to “look to the Son.” Believe in Jesus Christ. Believe that He died for your sins and was raised to life for your justification in God’s sight (Romans 4:25). Believe that, exactly as He promised, He will raise up all His faithful followers at the last day.
And at Christ’s Second Coming and the resurrection of our bodies unto immortal, eternal life, the Scripture will be fulfilled: “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’.” (1 Corinthians 15:22-23, 54)
These grand, trustworthy promises flow from God’s perfect love for us. He loved us so much that He was willing to send His Son Jesus to this earth to die for our sins and thereby to bear the punishment for our sins and to redeem us from our deserved curse of eternal damnation.
What is our part? — Whoever believes in Him [Jesus] shall not perish but have eternal life. Sadly, millions will “reject the Son [and] will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” You see, our unrepented sins have incurred God’s wrath. Jesus clearly taught of the eternal torments of hell for the unbeliever (Matthew 18:8-9). And for those who refuse Jesus and refuse to repent, “God’s wrath remains on them.” But those who wisely choose repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21, KJV) will experience eternal life in the presence of God.
This eternal life with God is “in His Son!” Not in a so-called fountain of youth. Not in cryonic preservation. Not in a self-centered “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” mentality. There is eternal life and all its blessings made available to us through Jesus…and only through Jesus. Believe in and receive the Son of God into your life. Embrace Him as your Lord, your Savior, and any fears you may have of death will immediately disappear.
Make your personal decision today to receive Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior. Your inner disposition will change from fear to joy as you receive the promise of eternal life from Him. And as our opening Scripture declared, you will be set free from lifelong slavery to the fear of death.
If you would like some help in coming to Jesus for salvation, please take a look at our list of Salvation Scriptures. And may God bless you in this most important decision of your life.
©2017, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.