Friday, September 20, 2013

Time is taken off the end of life! Or is it?

The sitcom "Third Rock from the Sun" had a funny, but pitiful incident in an episode. Dick, the lead character, started smoking cigarettes. He said something to the effect "They say that for each cigarette you smoke it takes a day off your life. Who cares? It's just off the end of your life!"

Most of us are alive, vibrant and death seems a far off event of little importance in the scheme of things right now.  A normal eighteen year old is invulnerable. The human kryptonite has yet to be reckoned with. It's unknown to the young, but the aged knows quite well what makes us vulnerable to the grim reaper.

As we age a normal person will spend a proportional amount of time considering death and its inevitability. Many sickly disease ridden elderly live depressed lives; waiting for the sure surly fingers of lifelessness to turn warmth to cold. Hence, we have a continuum going from "no thoughts of dying" to "dwelling in thoughts of death".  Cardinal Newman said "Life is short. Death is certain. Eternity is long."

How short is life? A person begins dying at the moment of birth! It culminates at about 80 years of age.

How certain is death? Everyone has died! There have been no exceptions. Yes, Jesus died, but he arose! (Keep that in mind for yourself).

How long is eternity? It's time without end and when when one thinks it's about over, it has just begun.

This triad leads to the question. For whom does the bell toll?  John Donne wrote "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee"?  "Thee" is everyone. It tolls for you. It tolls for me. How often do you listen to the clanging of death's bell? None?  Seldom? Some? Often? Routinely?  How much is healthy?

Never thinking of death is dangerous!  You may live an Epicurean life here, but that's not pragmatic. Apathy doesn't invalidate truth. The truth is that "life is short, but death is certain". How can you have hope without a plan for eternity?  Likewise, constant negative thoughts of death are a measure of unbelief. One who fears death apparently has little faith. I'm not speaking of "dying". It's the actual state of being dead to which I'm referring. Those who have no hope for an afterlife may be the person who has thoughts of death the most as old age conceals what once was youthful. Ironically, the young person who thinks little of death at eighteen may be the one who focuses on death at eighty!  (Surely there needs to be a study done!) I base this hypothesis on the assumption that someone who seldom considers death does nothing to prepare for the inevitable, and at eighty find themselves without an answer!

Oh, what shall we do? Consider God's direction:

Deut 30:19 "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 20  that thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days:"

We all shall die a mortal death. Man's hope is that there is something more, eternal life being that hope. God sets before everyone a choice. He offers life and death! Since you're mortal and alive right now the inference is that God is speaking of something more. Since we are mind, body and spirit, he offers spiritual life or spiritual death, and both are offered for eternity! At the General Resurrection our triadic existence will be restored. Mind, body and spirit will again be!

Choose life! We're used to hearing that expression to save babies destined for destruction  ("both thou and thy seed may live") , but it also refers to each one of us. We are to "choose life" for ourselves! How do we choose life?  "He (God) is thy life" Choosing life is a gift for choosing God! Not only will choosing God give us eternal life, but God says that if we do, then he is "the length of thy days". (i.e., God will not only reward us with eternal life, but will extend our life here on earth!

Note that there are only two choices: (eternal) life or death. There are no other choices. Likewise, there exists two actions giving two results: reject Christ (death) or submit to Christ (life). The choice is easy! Why wrestle with the inevitable? Choose now while the choice is still available. The choice isn't open-ended. 

John 12:39 "Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,  40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."
The inability to believe is being reprobate. There is no hope. When God is rejected again and again, the  heart becomes hardened and conversion (to Christ from the world) cannot be. God calls one to salvation through the ministering of the Holy Spirit. After a person acclimates to that rejection, that person cannot have a change of heart at a whim. The mind of an engrained sinner may become irrevocably set . Don't wait too long or salvation may not be available! Choose life. The time is now!

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