Fear of Death
The new corona virus has come to Illinois. And so has fear (for many people.) The virus is not the problem. We know what to do to avoid passing on a virus. But there never has been a cure for a virus, only treatment. So, what is the best treatment for us in this “crisis”? From this pastor’s perspective, the deadly nature of the virus is not the big problem. Fear of death is. I have prayed since I was very young. “If I should die before I wake, I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take; and this I ask for Jesus’ sake.” We are all going to die (of something) because “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23a) “so death spread to all mankind, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). “But the gracious gift of God is eternal life in connection with Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23b). God does not want His people to fear our eventual death.
“Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). God has perfect love for His people. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also had access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and we boast based on the hope of the glory of God. Yet not only that, but we also boast in troubles, since we know that trouble works to produce endurance; but endurance produces character; but character produces hope. But this hope does not put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still weak, still at that time Christ died for irreverent people. … God demonstrates His own love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:1-8). The Church of Jesus Christ has the antidote to fear: forgiveness of sins, which Christ Jesus our Lord earned for us by His perfect life, sinless death, and resurrection from the dead, which assures us of the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
God’s word has many solutions to fear. Here is another one: “Since the children have shared flesh and blood, [Jesus] Himself likewise partook of them, in order that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to slavery. … Therefore, in all respects He had to be made like His brothers [human beings], that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, in order to atone for the sins of the people. … Therefore, holy brothers, partners of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus” (Hebrews 2:14-3:1).
Jesus heals diseases, forgives sin, and will raise the dead. So, don’t be enslaved by fear. Trust Jesus to save you from sin, to lead you in hope, and to give you life, even after death.
Pastor Mark Eddy
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Taylor Ridge, Illinois