What are your thoughts on the fear of death?


Question: In one of your sermons you posed a question along the lines of “Why is everyone so afraid of death?” I think I’m more afraid of leaving behind other people (for me, it’s my kids). I’m not afraid for myself. Maybe it’s different for others but, for me that’s it.

Response: I think we struggle to talk about death because we don’t know what it is or what we mean by it. Ironically, physical death really isn’t death but more like a metaphor for death…at least in Scripture. In Scripture there are two deaths:

  1. The first death is seizing control from God; that is sin which results in separation and isolation within the self. The first death is being trapped in your own “psyche.” According to Paul. We’re all dead, since we were very young (“I was once alive apart from the law…” Romans 7:9). This is what I mean when I talk about zombies and vampires.
  2. Scripture also talks about the second death, which I believe is the death of death. It’s the end of separation and isolation. It’s losing control and surrendering to God’s control. Physical death can be the final step into eternal life…or it can be a further descent into isolation. We can run from Jesus or go to Jesus. I think this is what Jesus was talking about when he spoke of Hades and the place where men weep and gnash their teeth. If we refuse to die the second death, we’re stuck in the first. If we simply begin to trust Jesus (faith), we’re already dying the second death…and beginning to experience eternal life.

Satan tempts us to fear the second death, which is the beginning of life. Jesus romances us to surrender to the second death, the death of death, dying with him on his tree, that we might live with him. I think that whole journey is part of being made in his image. It’s learning to lose your life (psyche) and find it; it’s learning to Love. Satan has tempted you too long for #1, but Jesus is romancing you to walk through #2 and live with your husband, your kids, and all of us in His New Creation. That’s exactly what you’re doing whenever you agree with Jesus in prayer. You’re dying and rising with Jesus, which is the death of death, that is Life.

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