What Death Means to a Faithful Child of God
When a faithful Christian dies, there are typically many wonderful things that can be said about his or her life. However, the most important thing that can be declared is that the person died as a child of God, a follower of Jesus Christ--a Christian. I performed a funeral earlier this year for a godly man who was also a gospel preacher. Although I do not remember exactly when he became a Christian, I do know what he did to obey his Lord. He believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, he determined to turn away from sinful living, he confessed his faith in the Lord, and he was baptized for the forgiveness of his sins. He did exactly what the Bible teaches that all men and women must do if they want to have the hope of heaven (cf. John 8:24; Acts 2:38).

I feel confident that if this brother in Christ could speak to us from the grave, he'd want all of us to think seriously about our own lives. If you haven't thought seriously about your existence, you need to. Unless Jesus returns first, we'll all eventually die physically. I'd like to share five points from the Bible about death at this time:

Hebrews 9:27 teaches - "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." Death is an appointment that we can't ignore or try to escape; when it is our time, it is our time. However, if one is a Christian, death is nothing to be afraid of.

Near the end of his life, Paul wrote in II Timothy 4:6-8 - "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing." Death is a departure from this life into the next life; death is not the end! Our spirits live on beyond this earthly realm.

In this life we are faced with sin, sorrow, sickness, and suffering. My friend had his share of health difficulties and pain. But no longer will he have to endure such! He has been released from the agony of the physical body! I have no real reason to doubt that he has been released to a better place--a place where there are no tears, no pains, and no deaths.

Not only is death a release from the suffering of planet Earth, but it is also a time of rest for God's faithful ones. Revelation 14:13 declares - "'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on'...that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."

This is the most exciting aspect to consider regarding the death of a faithful Christian. Death is just going home to God spiritually! "So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord" (II Cor. 5:6). It would follow therefore that faithful Christians who are absent in the physical body would be at home with the Lord spiritually (cf. Phil. 1:23)! Death opens the door to the mansions in heaven, and it eventually makes possible the best of all reunions--the reunion of faithful Christian friends and family. I have hopes of seeing my deceased brother in Christ again in the heavenly abode.