by Tim Patterson
PLYMOUTH, MI – In my 68 years of traversing this terra firma I have come to know and understand many things about our world and the inhabitants thereof. This Easter season brings to mind three facts of life that I have come to understand and believe to be absolutely true.
The first fact that I know to be an undeniable truth is that we are all sinners.
Yes, all of us. I know this to be true because the Word of God states clearly and emphatically that the whole of mankind, past, present and future are rotten to the core. We were born sinful little creatures and will eventually die as such. The Word tells us in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. And in Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one.
Over and over again, our Father reveals the dark and doomed nature of our souls. I not only know this from scripture, but observation of the human race reveals this as well. I came to the realization long ago that even those sweet and wonderful gifts that God gives us called children are born with sinful natures. Children do not need to be taught to lie, cheat or steal, it comes naturally. All of us sin. From the least to the greatest. The fact is we sin.
The second fact that I have come to understand is that we are all going to die.
No one gets out of this life alive. Try as we may, we cannot cheat death. Hebrews 9:27 “It is appointed unto man, once to die….” . Also, God’s Word tells us in Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.
The western world is obsessed with youthfulness and the maintenance thereof. Advertizing, clothing, music, trends, fads and faces all focus on and give the highest priority to youthfulness. I believe this is just the result of our aging humanities attempt to prolong the inevitable. No matter how much plastic surgery is done. No matter how committed one is to a healthy diet and lifestyle, we ALL are going to die.
Some are even trying to cheat death by having their deceased bodies frozen and stored hoping that in the future science will discover a means to regenerate them and heal them of the disease that brought about their demise. This practice is called cryogenic suspension.
The following is taken from the website of a prominent Cryonics provider.
“Cryonics is the practice of preserving life by pausing the dying process using subfreezing temperatures with the intent of restoring good health with medical technology in the future. Cryonics is currently the best-known method for pausing the dying process in a way that allows for potentially restoring good health with medical technology in the future. Cryonics is an ambulance to the future. When today's medicine gives up, cryonics takes over.”
The amazing part of this is that people believe this is a viable option and are paying big bucks to have this done. The expense to have one’s body cryogenically suspended can cost up to $200,000.00 and at present there are about 500 bodies in the United States that are frozen in this manner.
My question is, how can they guarantee that these companies will not just run with the money to some warm sunny island in the South Seas, and forget to pay the electric bill? Sounds like someone trying to sell you the Statue of Liberty.
A few years ago, a letter appeared in the national news that was sent to a deceased person by the Indiana Department of Social Services. It read as follows:
"Your food stamps will be stopped in March because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."
My friend, you cannot change your circumstances. If you are made into a people popsicle, the thawing process will not be pretty.
The third fact of life that I am absolutely sure of is that we will all live forever.
That’s right! We are immortal and eternal beings. Though we may physically die, we will continue to live spiritually.
But the real question is: “Where will we be in eternity?” There are only two possibilities: Heaven or Hell. One option has already been decided when the first man and woman rebelled against God and sinned. They in turn passed that sin on to all of humanity and we have continued in that same sinful pattern. Remember the above-mentioned passage in Romans?
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
Easter answers the great questions that arise from these facts of life. It is found in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The following passages from God’s Word reveal the answers.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
I Corinthians 15:51-58
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
I Thessalonians 14:13-18
This Easter may you find great faith and assurance in these FACTS.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.