George Bowers Sr.: We can’t extend our date with death
April 15 will soon be here reminding us of the old maxim that nothing in life is certain but death and taxes. And not necessarily in that order. But with only 57 percent of Americans paying income taxes last year, the truth of that statement continues to erode. Really it never has been true, but has been used to illustrate how highly predictable governments are at fleecing their people by comparing their assessments to the one absolute certainty in life: death.
There is another reality, however, that is just as certain as death, and more universal than taxation. That reality is resurrection. Long before Jesus rose on that first resurrection morning, Daniel prophesied that multitudes who sleep in the dust of the Earth will eventually awake. Job, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Hosea all agreed and pointed forward to an eventual resurrection of all. In the New Testament, Paul declares in I Corinthians 15:22 that, “As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
Praise God, Jesus’s victory over the grave ransoms every human from their misnamed “final resting place.” The question, however, is what will we be resurrected to? In the same passage in which Daniel looks forward to the resurrection, he says that some will be raised to everlasting life, while others will be raised to shame and everlasting contempt. In the New Testament, we see a clear distinction between those who call on Jesus for salvation and those who do not. Those who do will be resurrected to eternal joy and worship around God’s throne, while those who reject Jesus will be resurrected to eternal misery and punishment. The question is not whether we will live again after death, but which type of life will we live?
The Bible is very clear that there is no reincarnation and no zombies. Hebrews 9:27 states that, “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment.” You can discount and dismiss the Bible if you wish, but do not do so until you have proven it wrong. Conduct your own investigation and determine for yourself if Jesus rose from the dead or not, because the consequences of unbelief, if true, will last forever. We will have a very long time to regret this if we get it wrong.
If you conclude like I and millions of others have, that Jesus did rise from the dead, then pay heed to his words and take them to heart. Realize that your grave is not the end and that there is a judgment and an eternity to follow. Place your hope and trust in the only one who permanently returned from the prison of death that he might grant you victory over your own tomb and raise you to everlasting life. Avoid the eternal suffering that awaits all who refuse him and die in their sins.
All who come to Jesus must come in faith believing. After we die, the realities that we face will be obvious enough, but the opportunity to choose Jesus will have already passed. Today is the day of salvation. Even though you may be able to file an income tax extension, not one of us can extend our date with death. Take the opportunity today to prepare for those things that are even more certain than taxes by trusting Jesus as your savior.
George Bowers Sr. is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, “Wit and Wisdom of the Woods.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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