(Celebrating Jesus Christ ;Celebrating humanity)
We will start this all important discourse by looking at the origin of our life as we possibly can. Then we will proceed to look at the origin of death, what the Bible tells us about it and the much of what we can see of these things around us today as we journey on in life. Praise the Lord!
Our life begins at birth and the nearest we can make of it is by beholding our parents as our origin. But as we acquire knowledge and come to know about death, we understand that our parents derived their life too from our grannies, and so on. We will soon grow to ask more questions and seek more sensible explanation for our existence, especially as time will soon appear to no longer ‘be on our side’.
Already we can see how the fact of death helps sober every human being up to the realities of life. Now let us look closely at the origin of death which according to the Bible derives from sin and rebellious conduct. Sin here implies every bad and rebellious conducts as we know them- deceit, wickedness, violence, hate, etc.
The easiest way to understand how God abhors sin and evil conducts is by appreciating how quick we are to publicly dissociate ourselves from ‘bad’ things.
We scream at the sins we are not addicted to, but the irony remains that sin and sinful acts is distributed amongst us all in such an interesting manner as the problem of the world distributes. You have this and another person has that, all in varying degrees too. From anger or envy that often [if unchecked] leads to hatred and abhorrence, we are not just committing sin we appear naturally stuck with it.
And to this extent we cannot rightly say we are without sin because sinful tendencies is a trait we acquire from birth and this inclination is what leads to sin. Sin is so inherent in human nature that we stand to be influenced by the sin of pride even when we perform a good charitable act, and fail to dedicate the glory to our creator who is the source of our inspiration. That is why we need to identify with our perfect creator and let Him deal with our weaknesses as we keep on trying to lead lives that models His Ideals.
When we now look at the Biblical account of this Original Sin [the sin of disobedience to God by our first parents], then it becomes clearer who we are as we begin to feel ourselves in the picture. We will learn how this trait came about, how we found ourselves here on earth, how and why sin is inevitable to us, how death checkmates the growth of rebellious sin, but most crucially we will catch a glimpse of God’s Holiness, Power and Love because He that provided the gift of life is hereby promising you another gift- eternal life in His peaceful abode called Heaven. Praise God, Alleluia!
Death was not designed for our first parents [Adam and Eve] whom God loved very dearly as they epitomised His Splendid Creations and whose lives were meant to glorify His Goodness. Like ‘overgrown’ children, they were innocent adults and do not have as much wisdom or knowledge as they later acquired... but this acquisition of knowledge unwittingly brought them death in the same package.
God loved them, provided for them and showed them unreserved affection as we normally would to little children. But after being deceived into disobedience to God [Genesis 3], God had to adjust and apply caution in His dealings with Adam and Eve, this time not as little children anymore but as we would apply caution when we approach any adult.Such caution implied that they were to leave the garden lest they eat also from the tree of life and live forever.[Genesis 3:22-24].
This ordeal in the garden pretty much explains the spate of the human race till date and the establishment of death in its own right. Thus this is how the journey began for humanity.
Therefore our lives happens to be a gift from God who knew He created us in His Goodness and Love and knew that His grace is sufficient to save anyone of us who identifies with Him from the strife of life and from agonies at death. As a gift our life is made special by the fact of who the giver is and the very nature of His providential grace. As a gift life is meant to be enjoyed. We only feel guilty about our enjoyment of life when we don’t know who the giver of this beautiful gift is nor consider His intendments for our precious souls- the true essence of the gift. Even when we don’t feel guilty about our bad conducts or lifestyle, it doesn’t really stop us from enjoying our life [an awesome gift], but the reckoning is in death. Death is what makes us stop and have a rethink about our lives asking what becomes of us after the death of our flesh. Indeed death is a very strong development but perfect for the Glory of God being renewed in us, by our creator who is the only one capable of redeeming our spirit after the death of our sin-plagued flesh.
If you still harbour any doubt as to the link between death and rebellious wisdom/power in relation to the purity and glory of God, then begin to imagine what the world would look like if the blood guzzling warriors of old [the Neros and Nebuchadnezzers] are still here today and all seeking to expand their knowledge and political horizons. That would hardly reflect the Glory of a perfect creator as evil in man's heart will have dominance over good, with very little need to think for good or to reflect upon God’s Majestic Dominion.
This is why we have to die and importantly find death an understandable consequence of disobedience to God. We have to understand that the absence of death will ultimately challenge the glory of God if we live forever with the voluminous amount of self-seeking knowledge we will acquire and possess.
By the special influence of the Holy Spirit, I have come to appreciate why God preserved and availed us the Bible so we can have access to information about us- an act which underlines His faithful love and presence over generations of humans.
We on our own part should try and consciously act in defiance of the scourge of the ‘Original Sin’ [something we are born with] and should see it all as a challenge to live better lives and justify our creation [and procreation] to the Glory of our good creator.
On the other hand we need to know more about sin which is the origin of death to our bodies. We now need to know the architect of sin. Very often we conveniently avoid the topic ‘sin’ because we are ashamed of its sticky realities, and rightly so too...
Secondly we often feel that we cannot fully enjoy our gift of life if we dissociate ourselves from sin.
This is not true as we are all sinners [guilty of one sin or the other], but we stand no chance when we do not have a personal relationship with God.
Simply put, sin without God is like giving a child ‘unfettered freedom’ to roam about and play; while committing sin while knowing God is like having freedom ‘within control’.
God will begin to redirect our steps and we will always long to please Him, to employ our livelihood to His glory and in so doing- our sins will not just greatly reduced, they will count as nothing! We are the Children of the Most High God who sin offends. We are so desperately ashamed of our sinful nature and acts that we strive to do good as a psychological justification for the sins that sticks to us like glue. The Spirit of God alive in us urges us on to act in self-denial and show more love, but the flesh weakened by its own overbearing desires manages on, secretly desperate for salvation of sort.
Are we ready to unmask the one who actually benefits when we die ‘in vain’ [without knowing our creator and who we are]? And how he cruelly reaps from death- a development he inspired.
As the Bible told and as we shall soon reconfirm from what we can see the devil was cast away from God’s presence after he rebelled against God with self-seeking pride and he left with some followers [demons]. he devil revels in the death of a sinner- anyone who is blemished and cannot near God’s presence because of their sinful afflictions. He owns their souls and will deal with them with a horrific vengeance he has for his former Master who had him banished. And how do you know a sinner? Ready? A sinner is every one of us! See Romans chapter 8. So who goes to heaven? A Saint- whom I would conveniently describe as- a sinner who died trying to shun sinful behaviours and reflect God’s Glory in truth and in spirit as the Good Lord had availed His grace.
And on the deposed ‘duty manager’ (the devil), it is obvious that no one is considered for any position of huge responsibility except if they are specially talented or gifted for that role. So beware! The devil is indeed a qualified evil genius when it comes to devious schemes, was actively present at the creation of man and very good at manipulating the desires of the flesh [the human senses as we know it].
Even though he knew the fruit was poisonous to the human body [we’ll talk about the fruit in a moment] he was convincing to Eve when he said to her that she will not die [contrary to what God had forewarned, thereby undermining God’s authority and making Him out to be a liar] but that they will be as wise as God and be able to discern good from bad.
At this point we need to understand the devil’s motives for this evil attack on innocent man.
First, man has assumed the devil’s former position as the most favoured of God.
Also and as a faithful and loving creator, God takes great pleasure in His creation especially His pearl of creation [man] that He created all things to be under. So in a bid to spite God and punctuate His perfect dominion the devil attacked man.
Then again is his pride. He has a cruel and very ambitious evil fantasy of having a kingdom as God. He knew that God does not harbour evil and that any soul with sin shall be cast away from God’s presence. He will thus lay claim to such souls forever and hold them captive to worship and serve him [self-seeking and rebellious ambitions] even as [unlike God who shows love and glory in giving freedom] he torments the sinner’s souls in perpetual slavery. What a befitting treatment for a supposed pearl of creation! What bitter and wicked rivalry is the devil geared for!
The Book of 1st peter 5:8 described him as a raging lion prowling around and looking for whom to devour. He lies in wait for his unsuspecting victim plodding them with rebellious logic that would gratify their egos, just as he did to Adam and Eve. His dragnets are so far reaching and successful that during the temptation of Jesus Christ the devil laid claims to be the owner of the kingdoms of the world [Matthew 4:8-9].
The fruit eaten by Adam and Eve according to the Bible [Genesis 3;6] was very pleasing to the eyes to behold. This is always the first target- what we see and the interpretation we may accord. The fruit has been there all along, but on this occasion attention was brought to it by a deceitful plot that was meant to confuse and implicate, and which shows the devil’s ingenuity at deceit.
And sure to his words the fruit opened Eve’s eyes to the knowledge of good and bad which is true as the devil had assured, but unfortunately for them he deceptively did not inform that they would be disobeying God or that the consequence would banish them from the Garden [God’s presence] and bring death to their body. He just wanted them to be guilty of disobedience and bring God to disrepute for trusting so much in man and woman. He therefore in a nutshell manipulates the desires of our body in order to contaminate the true spirit of God in us, thereby making us neither unfit for resurrection in death nor coming before God’s presence.
I have often [as you may have too] wondered why the devil exercises so much authority and have access to God’s domain [in the Garden of Eden where innocent ‘children’ are playing...] even to the extent of testing our Jesus Christ [God-made-man]. But I soon found the answers by the grace of God and will always trust the unshakeable power, goodness and glory of God.
Let us consider two business associates in this didactic analogy. Let us say that one of them is good and the other bad, with the good man being the boss [God] and the bad man his duty manager [Devil]. After a fall-out with the boss the duty manager was sacked and he turned grumpy and disgruntled. He is always seen launching tirades of attacks in a bid to bring his boss’s business to a ruin. He will always accost his former boss to question his grounds for dismissal and will seek to prompt his boss into taking actions that could dent His impeccable business image. But instead of being upset by the schematic acts of his disgruntled former employee, the boss remained true to his good business principles so that his seal of quality remains untainted. Instead of being affected by the growing influence of his new rival over his business and playing dirty with him, he maintained his stance and the distance between them trusting in the power of truth.
The negative influences over our lives mirrors the rebellious traits we harbour as descendants of Adam and Eve- which brought us death; while the goodness we show highlights the spirit of God in us [our origin] and which will bag us eternal life by His special grace as promised. As said earlier, our spirits don’t die because it is the spirit of God in us as obtained during creation and further re-authenticated when God permitted our procreation.
When we depart from this world we will have a better insight as to what happens in the spiritual realm, but trusting God through His word [the Holy Bible] we can again clearly picture the ‘former duty manager’ in the Book of Job...as he accosted God [as he did Jesus Christ] with an air of familiarity that will leave you in no doubt as to how much influence he previously wielded.
This is quite as interesting a revelation as it is scarily confusing. In this instance, the former duty manager on walking to and fro the earth accosted his former boss regarding the life of Job [an honest man who is also rich and successful] and demand that Job be tested by himself the evil genius to see if Job will eventually curse God or not.
Job may not have been worth the devil’s plan if he were a sinful rich man, but the Bible portrayed that Job’s righteousness and wealth coupled with his friendship with God (a rare combination of human quality) is what the devil appeared to be jealous about. This and the temptation of Jesus goes on to show what stranglehold the devil has on the world and gives insight as to why Jesus [expressing God’s love] had to intervene for humanity at the crucial interval He did. This onslaught on Job [an honest God-fearing man] is an exhaustive account that should give us an invaluable insight on the motives of the devil and make us seek exoneration under the cleansing effect of the Blood of Jesus as sooner or later the devil will point accusatory fingers our way, seeking to tempt us out into condemnation.
Job is not a mystery; his story is fully told in the Bible and if you ever doubt the strength of this revelation ask yourself why the virtue behind that name Job has been concealed from the lips of men by the devil. Why do we not identify with the sufferings of Job and the exaltation of true faith in God? Why do we not name our children Job as often as we name them after the more heralded/successful followers of Jesus Christ? We must learn to accommodate suffering in our ‘near-perfect’ existences and understand that whenever we are faced with a tricky situation that we may be ‘Job’, with the arch enemy’s unseen accusatory finger pointing at our ‘pretend faith and shallow good deeds’. But if we are firmly in Jesus, always praying for forgiveness and pleading His precious Blood in all we venture to do, His Blood will do away with our unrighteousness and as the Bible assured. those accusing fingers will shrivel away and our sins will never count. Praise God! [Isaiah 54: 17]
The continuous acquisition and accumulation of knowledge becomes an issue where it does not glorify God, as knowledge is bound to elicit pride and complacency in worshipping God or acting in a manner that will justify our creation or reflect the good intendments of our creator. This is also why we are charged by God to teach children the ways of the Lord as they grow in life [proverbs22:56, proverbs13:24] and how they can be threatened with untold sufferings due to the sin element inherent in mankind.
Children on their own account reflects the glory of God found in Adam and Eve especially their innocence that trusts, without questioning the ability of their parents or provider.
Children show an interesting level of zeal and eagerness lacking in adults who have seen it all over the years, and thus going ‘colour-blind’ to the glory of God shining all around them. The brilliant weathers, natural landscapes, fruits and vegetations, singing birds and rivers no longer mean anything to the average adult mind because we have seen it all. This is the age and stage where the death of the human body naturally begins to set in.
But as the Book of Isaiah informs that ‘those who wait upon the Lord shall be like youths and have their wings renewed like the eagle’s [Isaiah 40, 31]. Jesus Christ after rebuking His disciples for asking children out amidst a rowdy crowd had pointed out saying, ‘anyone who wants to get to heaven...and anyone who makes these children to sin... [Matthew18: 1-7]. When we worship God we are like children to Him, probably reminding Him of our first parents and their child-like innocence. His love in our life will renew us every morning and we will appear ageless by our dispositions since the issues of the world will not hinder our enjoyment of our gift of life. We are like children to God and if so we should accept that ‘freedom within control’ rather than ‘unfettered freedom’ is what is best for us. This way we continue to enjoy our life in a sinful world but blamelessly so under God’s gracious directions and tutelage. Praise God, alleluia.
To shame the devil and the scourge of death brought about by his attack on our first parents in the Garden; we have to shed our garments of pride and self-seeking knowledge. We need to understand how much rebellious [self-seeking] wisdom offends God and instead become ‘the light of the world ‘[as Jesus reminded in Matthew5:14] employing our wisdom selflessly to the service of others. And because we have an immortal spirit, our fear of death dissipates as soon as we begin to shun sinful lifestyles and start to look forward to the promises of eternal life in God’s presence- the very place the devil sought to deny mankind.
As we draw closer to God, our spirit will reconnect to the highest realm in Existentialism and it will become clearer and clearer to us how death is linked with sin as accounted in the Bible.[Romans 6:23] Our fear and trust in God will override our guilt about sin and fear of death as He will take over our worries and burdens and exonerate us from those sins the enemy would’ve sought to secure our condemnation with. The fear of death would no longer diminish the quality of the gift of life we have, as we now understand better the origin of death. We can even begin to justify the existence of death as a check on the excessiveness of our human flesh against the Glory of God, especially whenever we sin or find ourselves succumbing to inglorious acts. The Bible said of our fear of death, ‘fear not the things that can kill the body, rather the things that can kill both soul and body in hell.’ [Matthew10: 28]
Today I tell you that you shall not die as your spirit is immortal- a seal of being created by an Immortal spirit [God]. The Spirit of God in man is that thing in man [conscience] that subjects Him to the Glorious goodness of His creator...always challenging man to dare stand for the truth and which has seen the human race rise above the ugly stories about its own existence! Not even sin and death could deny expression to God’s wonderful creation which He started from the scratch [void and deep emptiness] see Genesis1:1 and which climaxed with the creation of man and woman.
Whenever we desire something so much that it demands our complete submission, we need to be alerted as to what the Will of God should be of us to do under such situation. The devil may lie in wait for us to falter so he will find grounds to demand our soul’s expulsion from God’s presence and committal to his evil domain called hell fire. He is taking pride in the fact that he may be winning more souls than God and that his ability to successfully deceive Adam and Eve has brought death upon God’s special ones.
We would now urge, instead of dwelling in the mystery of death and dying, let us re-appreciate the opportunity life offers as a gift which allows us to- enjoy our lives to the fullness of it [See John 10:10] and a golden ‘return-match’ chance to defeat death/sin after our first defeat [genetically] in the Garden and be able to obtain for our souls eternal happiness unto God’s Heavenly Glory,through Jesus Christ.
When we understand God’s perfect nature we will come to trust Him more and He will begin to show us the meaning of most things we see but could not perceive because the wisdom in us is corruptible like the computer software. Our quest for knowledge is comparable to an information junkie, bearing in mind also that much knowledge brings weariness to the soul[Ecclesiastes 1 :18]; so aggressively self-seeking it repels the Glory of God who enjoined us to love one another selflessly as He had loved us, to show more love and forgiveness to others as God has shown us, and that by so doing we will be reflecting His Glory and justifying who we truly are- the perfect work of His creation, those that have the potential to defeat death and arise from the grave to a special place designed for Gods chosen [Romans 6:8]
In conclusion therefore let us make a fresh start in our life by heaving a huge sigh of relief, thanking God for the gift of life and appreciating Him for whom He is. He said that when we seek Him first, everything else will be added unto our life to feed fat our inadequacies [Matthew 6:33]. Thus the priority when we pray is to be thankful in worship, believing that He who provided us with life will enable us the wherewithal to live life to its fullness while reflecting His glory. When we do this, our problems are demeaned to their rightful place of importance and God will sure live up to His promises in taking over and redirecting our lives.
Now for as many who grieve and wallow over the pangs of death due to loss of a loved one we have these words to share :
"13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.
14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. [1st Thessalonians 4 :13-17]
This is a hard fact to this very existence almost impossible to fully comprehend but God who is ultimate will give us that measure of grace needed to have a settled mind as we put our focus on him. Time means nothing to Him but righteousness under His tutelage should mean everything to us, so we are always happily prepared.
We therefore hope that the mysterious air around death will be replaced by a clear mission in life under the directions of the Holy Spirit and on the last day we shall ask death- where is thy sting, and to grave on our resurrection day- where is thy victory? [1st Corinthians 15:55]
Please do not hesitate, visit our Bereavement page and invite us to visit and pray with a bereaved person you may know who happens to be struggling with the loss of a beloved one.
The Good lord will take charge of their burdens entirely and give their existence a truly happy and significant meaning according to His words through Jesus Christ, Amen.