James A. Washington

When you add the specter of death to faith, then as Christians we know the two are inextricably linked. Death holds a peculiar place in all this. Fundamental in this regard is that one must die spiritually and be reborn in the reality that Jesus overcame death, died on the cross and rose again in order for us to access eternal life as it was designed by the Father.

Faith requires an understanding and then behavior that is consistent with that understanding. Physical life and death are but a part of a process, one element of spiritual eternity. To some believers this can be confusing enough. To the non-believer, it can be an impossible barrier to overcome. For those who claim faith in the reality of Christ, facts are based on faith and not necessarily sight. That’s why the events and happenings in the real world can be distorted by the events and happenings in the faith-based existence of Christians.

Death is one of those distortions. To the believer, death is life on many different levels. It is neither the beginning nor the end of anything but the continuation of an existence that has always been there.

Faith demands action from us. If you have faith that when you turn on a light switch electricity will power the bulb and illuminate a room, then your expectation and actions (rooted in faith) are different from someone who has no faith in electricity. If you have faith in God, then your view of death will be totally different from someone who doesn’t. It doesn’t make our anticipation of death any easier because real physical death is still an unknown adventure.

I’m at an age where I’m as likely to hear about someone younger than me who has passed as I am someone older. Older relatives don’t have as much time as they once did to be in my life. It has given me pause to ponder my own mortality in the face of my faith that should embrace my own immortality.

Faith is tested every day. Once established within you, then you operate by a different set of facts. Through faith, we actually believe all things are possible because God is certainly capable of doing anything. That includes overcoming death. Death then is a step closer to God. In many cultures in the world, death is cause for a celebration and that is as it should be for all Christians.

“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” Revelation2:10-11.

For all things, the answer never changes and the truth never waivers: Have faith in God.

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