By Anne Peterson, Crosswalk.com
One of the greatest fears people have is the fear of death. However, all of us one day will face death. Losing a loved one is never easy. I’ve had a couple of times where I nearly died. What made that scary was thinking of those I’d leave behind. And yet, I know God would take care of them.
If you know for sure you are going to heaven, you don’t have to fear death. I know when I take my last breath, I will wake up and see the Lord. I am certain of this, not based on my own ideas, but because I have the Son (1 John 5:12-13). Many years ago I attended a Bible study where I accepted what Jesus did on the cross for me. Paul said when he would be absent from the body he would be with the Lord (1 Corinthians 5:8).
If you struggle with fearing death, may these six verses reassure and comfort you:
1. John 14:1-3 – God Is Making a Place for Us
Let not your heart be troubled: ye 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 unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
We don’t need to be afraid when we die, because God is preparing a place especially for us. We can go throughout our lives looking to see where we fit in, but heaven is that place. And as far as what heaven is like, God tells us no one has seen or heard all that God is preparing for us (1 Corinthians 2:9).
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2. Romans 6:5 – We Will Be United with Jesus
For if we have been united with [Jesus] in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
On Sunday I watched Bruce Peterson, pastor of Grace Chapel SB in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He talked about the passage in Revelation where God was sitting on the throne with a rainbow encircling it, which shone like an emerald. God was surrounded by 24 elders who worshipped. There were four creatures who continually said, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, The Almighty who was and who is and who is to come.”
The 24 elders fell down and worshipped God and cast their crowns before him. In the right hand of the Almighty was a scroll, sealed with seven seals. But when an angel asked who was worthy to break open the scroll and break open the seals, no one was worthy.
Finally someone came forth who looked like a lamb who had been slain. And he took the scroll from the Almighty, and the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the lamb. And thousands of thousands of angels sang about the lamb (Revelation 4:2-5, Revelation 5:11)
“And do you know who was with Jesus?” Pastor Bruce asked. “It was those of us who had trusted in Christ. We were united in death, and when we go to heaven, we will be united with him in resurrection. When we trusted in Jesus, not only did he wash away our sins, but he also imputed his righteousness to us. We are joint heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17). And we were not in the back row trying to get a glimpse of what was happening in the front. No, we were right there in the center with Jesus because we are his siblings. And we will also be glorified.
This is a message we need to reflect on. As things become difficult in our present circumstances, we need to focus on what is to come.
You can watch his sermon, Life Giving Words, Glorified, on YouTube here.
3. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 – We Will Have Glorified Bodies
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
Here on earth, we have a body that ages. Each year we get older, we can see how that affects our bodies. We can’t move around like we did when we were younger. We get sick, we get tired, and we need rest. But up in heaven, we will have a glorified body. One that never aches. One that never gets sick. One like Jesus.
It’s been asked if we will eat in heaven, and our Bible teacher reminded us when Jesus came down to earth after rising from the dead, he ate with his disciples.
4. Isaiah 25:8 – Death Will No Longer Be Around
He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
So many times I have stood in a cemetery to say goodbye to a loved one. But in heaven, there will be no more death. God will swallow death up forever. Oh, the hearts that have been broken as people watched their family members slip away. We’ve heard doctors say, “I’m sorry, I did all I could.”
Like Jesus went to the home of Mary and Martha after Lazarus had died, Mary told him if he had been there, her brother would not have died (John 11:32). Isn’t this how we have felt at times? The day is coming when death will die. God will swallow up death. And perhaps there will be lots of cheering.
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5. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – We Are Not without Hope
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.
When people see their loved ones die who did not know Jesus personally, they grieve differently than those whose loved ones accepted him. For those of us who know Christ personally, even when our eyes close in death, God says we are asleep. And when we open our eyes, we will hardly believe what is before them. God, Jesus, and all of heaven, too.
God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory... (Colossians 1:27)
6. Philippians 3:20 – We’ll Finally Be Home
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
We are just pilgrims here, waiting till it’s time for us to go to heaven. Have you ever had longings that didn’t get satisfied? It’s because we weren’t made for this world. We were made for heaven. And when we get there, we will see how wonderful our Father is that he provided a way for us to get there. And Jesus was that way. Jesus said he was the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through him. One day we will be home, and that thought brings comfort to me, not fear.
The only one who wants us to fear is the enemy of our souls.
God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Satan knows he can’t go to heaven, so he wants to scare us about death.
A Prayer for Those Who Fear Death
God, I lift up anyone who is reading this article. I pray that you would let them know the truth in your Word. I pray that they will come to a place of understanding so they will have the Son. God, we thank you that you loved the world so much you gave Jesus to die for us so we could live eternally with you (John 3:16). Help us Lord, when we get anxious. Remind us that you are waiting to welcome us home. We pray this in Jesus’ precious and Holy name. Amen.
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Anne Peterson is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 16 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published a book entitled He Whispers: Poetic talks with God. Sign up for Anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab. Or connect with her on Facebook.