Sunday, May 21, 2006


Because of a death in my family I have been thinking about the word death this week. To be honest nobody close to me has died before so I have never really had cause to think about it in this way before.

I do not like the word. There are a number of reasons why I do not like it. Some are thought some are emotionally. On a emotional level I think it is because at a fundamental level I realise that death is not how things are supposed to be; it makes me uncomfortable and it should.

But I also know that death is part of the curse which resulted from the fall of mankind (see Genesis 3; Romans 6 v 23). But as Christians we need not fear death (2 Timothy 1 v 10). Christ freed us from the curse by his death on the cross. So therefore when I speak of people I know who are Christians I don't think I should be talking about their death

I have been using the phrase "passed away" instead. Now I do not think there is anything intrinsically wrong with this phrase but I do not think it accurately explains what happens when Christians die and to be honest I don't really understand what it means.

So for now I have settled on the phrase "he is with Christ". Which is how Paul talks about his death in his letter to the Philippians (1 v 21 to 23). I still haven't entirely gotten my head around how why Paul also refers to those who are with Christ as being "asleep" in Christ (1 Corinthians 15 v 18), I need to think about that some more.

I like the phrase because it more accuratly explains the reality. Paul says my grandfathers death is his gain so I can rejoice for my grandfather in that.

But I also like it because it opens up the possability for conversations about the hope gospel gives when people (for want of a better expression) die. The need to share the gospel has become more apperent to me because I have realised how utterly terrible it would have been if my Grandfather were not a Christian. Heaven shows hell to be the horrific thing that it is and the dire situation folk who have not trusted in Christ are in.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

James, I've finally found your blog. I'm sorry to hear about your grandad. Sally's grandad died on Saturday, but we're not sure where He stood. I hope I'm not too blind to see how God is going to use his death for good. Hope to catch you in England. Richard