“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…” (Eccl. 3:1-2a)
There are two seasons that we have absolutely no control over: 1) When we are born, and 2) When we die. That we are born; that we die; these are two very experiential realities. Birth is a joyous season; we laugh; we celebrate. Death is often a very sad season; there is confusion; mourning; separation; loneliness; fear. Why is there death? Though it is a “normal” season under the heavens, it is far from normal; it is quite unnatural. We must never say death is just “part of life”. Not true! God is life. He created us for life. Death doesn’t “fit” our design, because we were made for life with God. Then you ask: “Why do we die?” Especially, “Why do I fear it so much, and don’t want to think about it?” The Bible’s answer:
“…Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” (Rom. 5:12).
Our sin is the cause of death (Gen. 2:17; cf. Heb. 2:14-16). Sin’s presence and evil is not only the Bible’s teaching, but our experience as well. In fact, the Bible teaches that all men and women are characterized by three truths: 1) We possess eternity in our hearts (Ecc. 3:11-14); 2) We were created upright and to be like God (Ecc. 7:29); And 3) We are mad in our present state (Ecc. 9:3).
How can all three things be true of mankind, of men and women? Well, think of these three things in your own experience. We were made upright but something has gone wrong:
Eternity: You long for things to be right; just; fair; a new beginning; a new hope; new starts; a hope that what Christianity teaches is true. We are not satisfied here in this world. As Aurelius Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God.” We long for a new and better world! Who wouldn’t want it?? Why do we long for this? Eternity is in our hearts, yet we do not find it…not here anyway. No matter how hard we try, we are simply “not there yet”. Madness: You can’t free yourself from the things you do, that you don’t want to do. You keep doing the same things over and over that bring heartache and sadness in your life, and the lives of others. Our hearts are full of madness. We are walking contradictions; we know that we are not what we should be (“upright”), and we continue oftentimes making the same mistakes, year after year (this is “madness”). For instance, we know experientially that we are created in God’s image, yet we refuse to think further about it in our fallen state:
We know because that there is a God and He is to be worshipped because we are all by nature and experience the desire to worship something/someone, to be completely devoted to people, stuff, things, life itself, etc. We are bent on worshipping something, even if it just ourselves…sadly (cf. Rom. 1:18-32). We know that we should not kill, think evil or malicious thoughts, and we know that stealing, adultery, and being discontented are not the ways we ought to live. We know we ought to lie, but we continue; we do things that we know deep inside our souls are wrong. We all are seeking to rid ourselves of guilt and shame. Why these two things? What have we done?? Why do we fear the worst when it comes to thinking about death? We desire to be honored and loved, and yet we do not show the same honor and love for others, and especially for God!!
This is real madness! Let us admit it. We know what to do (because it is written on our hearts), yet we do not do it (Rom. 2:14-16). Jesus said that those who live like this are slaves and only He can set us free: “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (John 8:36). Jesus came to make us upright again. He came to show us the way to the world that our longings for eternity have been pointing; he came to cure us of madness, to set us from our self-centeredness, and to free us to follow him. How will you respond? If your conscience is still working properly, you know experientially that all these three things are true. If you have ears to hear, then you know that it is time for a change, and God is calling you to it today. What is your hope? What is my hope? “For as by man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:21).
Christ has come down to live “under the heaven” in our nature, to experience the mourning and the dancing; to experience both the birth and the death…and through His atoning, substitutionary death to make us right with God. To make us upright again before Him, to cure us of self-centered madness, so that we will realize our mission in life to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, and to live for all eternity in a new and better world. The Gospel-good news of Jesus Christ, and the reason why we can even mourn with hope, and laugh while we weep at a memorial service or funeral of a loved one is because Christ through His death and resurrection has turned death into a doorway to life—as perfect season that will never end: eternal life. Jesus came to live a perfect life of obedience for all who believe; we get His perfect record of righteousness: Jesus came to die as a curse for sin in place of all who believe; our sins are imputed to Him.
“He who knew no sin because sin for us, so that we might be the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:21). Amen.
What must you do to be saved from this madness? Believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ who sympathizes with sinners and the weakest in this life. In this season of your life, salvation could come—through your faith in Jesus Christ. Then, laugh, and dance, even while you mourn, because now you mourn with hope that only God can give. You can live knowing eternity is yours in Christ Jesus, and that the madness that is in you is being cured, and you are forgiven of all your sins. Are you being made upright again? Are you right with God? Do you know He loves you? Receive the Lord Jesus Christ!
In Christ’s love,