A few days ago I read in The Gospel-Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World by Michael Horton something that is so true. We aren’t, as a culture, really prepared to live. Why? Because we aren’t prepared for death. Dr. Horton explains:
We are not really prepared for life until we are prepared for death. … People aren’t really allowed to die. They just “pass away.” Unlike the crosses in the churchyard that were once visible through the glass windows as people heard God’s Word and invoked his name for rescue, the sentimental and anonymous cemeteries (with euphemistic names like Forest Lawn) hide death from view. We do not like to talk about it and we are uncomfortable hanging out with relatives and friends on their deathbed. Focusing on ameliorating temporal stress, insecurity, problems in our marriages and families, and general “well-being,” the church often misses its opportunity to raise people’s eyes to heaven, where earthly things fall into their proper perspective, (pg. 38).
We focus on the temporal. We focus on daily crisis and problems, and by in large in our homes, neighborhoods, schools and workplaces we lose sight of the greater crisis that looms ahead. But we don’t talk about it, we dismiss it. We pretend it doesn’t exist. We see this not only in the world, but often times within the Church as well. The real crisis isn’t a marriage falling apart, while that is tragic, and it isn’t the War on Terror, as important as that may be. The real crisis that we face could only be remedied on a Roman cross, Horton points out:
But the real crisis could be solved by nothing less than God’s becoming flesh, fulfilling the law and bearing sentence for its violations in our place, which is the focus of all of Scripture. We may have problems in our marriage, child rearing, stress at work, low self-esteem, and worries about our health or the financial market. However the ultimate crisis facing us is summarized in Romans 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth,” (pg. 39).
That is the true crisis that all of humanity faces, and until we are prepared for death by applying the remedy that Christ’s death provides we are never truly prepared to live. Through His death and resurrection those who repent and believe can truly live in and through Him, and are no longer slaves to the fear of death, (Hebrews 2:15).