WHETHER BY LIFE OR BY DEATH by Pastor Bill Morgan – Grace Churches

“According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  But if I live in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labours.  Yet what I shall choose, I cannot tell.  For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.  Nevertheless, to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.”  (Philippians 1:20-24)

 

The Apostle Paul faced death as a result of being united to Jesus Christ by faith in Him and what Jesus accomplished on behalf of Paul (and all believers) through His perfect life, sacrificial death, and subsequent resurrection from the dead and ascension to Heaven.  Paul had repented of his sins and turned from his sinful lifestyle to God.  He trusted in God’s Son as his Saviour!  The Apostle Paul’s ministry consisted of these two truths concerning repentance and faith – that people would be right (justified) with God and prepared to face death.  Paul’s summary of his ministry is as follows:  “. . .testifying to Jews and also to Gentiles, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Acts 20:21)

 

A fellow believer and friend, who became part of the O.P.P. Motorcycle Division, was involved in a serious accident on Highway 401, and came very close to being killed.  This is the closing paragraph of his account:

 

“Most importantly, I’ve been reminded anew of the value of my relationship with God.  I am acutely aware that it was God’s sovereign desire that I opened my eyes from unconsciousness  in that “orange tent” on Highway 401. I could easily have been face-to-face with my Creator in that first instance of consciousness.  Paul’s words in Philippians chapter one, “better by far” referring to being with Christ, comes to my mind on occasion when I think about this.  But that didn’t happen, and that same chapter tells me exactly what that should mean for me now when Paul says, “If I am to go on living in the body, that will mean fruitful labour for me.”  What a challenge!!  I thank God for the assurance that He has given me in Christ, that, had it been my time, I would, without a doubt, be in His presence today!  My accident made me face that issue and this assurance has been God’s very special gift to me through it all.  I realize that death is not as frightening for me as it might be.  In fact, as I write this, I have no fear of it!!  And the life that He has preserved for me now, has a clearer – perhaps a fresher sense of purpose than it did before.”

 

HOW DEATH CAN BE FACED? – BY FAITH IN GOD