[Papercut Press Publishing] 1999-08-16 - Muppet Theme or Beethoven's 5th?

Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.

Reuters news service is reporting that in San Francisco A local cremation company is making it possible for people to go out in a blaze of glory. Families can choose a musical theme to accompany the 3-1/2 minute shows, in which ashes are packed inside fireworks shells that are fired from a barge in San Francisco Bay.

Death is something that we all deal with all the time. Death is all around us. If we don't currently know someone close to us who has recently died, then the news is always reporting death in some respect. Accidents, bombs, wars, and natural weather events provide ample material for the constant reporting on death.

One thing is evident about death. Over and over we realize that no one is out of the reach of death. No one is greater than death. No authority, wisdom, shrewdness, prudence, no honorableness of a person or position of life, no amount of valuableness and importance to the world or to those close in relation, spares anyone from the seizure of death.

Death comes upon many as a thief in the night. For some it is not sudden, but for many it is. The understanding of this should lead us all to prepare for departure from this life.

How can we best prepare? How is it that death can lose its sting? There are probably several things we can do, but they are all related. First on my list of things to do to prepare for death would be to gain as full an understanding of the gospel as is possible. It is the gospel that brings hope. It is in the gospel where there is life out of death. It is in the gospel that death lost its sting. (1 Cor. 15:55)

The gospel of salvation leads us to look to Christ alone as sufficient for forgiveness from our sins. The gospel drives us to Christ in repentance and faith because the gospel leads us to trust in Christ's atonement as alone sufficient for salvation from sin. (Titus 3:5-7)

When God removes someone who has been a great instrument in His kingdom, or someone who has been precious to us in this life, it is a time of great sorrow. We sorrow not for the individual, who is now in the presence of the Lord, but for ourselves and the loss we feel. But there is great comfort for us to be found in the gospel. Christ has been raised and the promise of God to those who trust in Christ's Work of atonement is that they also will be raised with Him in glory.

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:4-7)

Soli Deo Gloria,