sábado, 7 de agosto de 2010

Vida e Morte do Cristão

Querido Deus,

Esse é meu segundo trabalho, sobre a Vida e Morte do Cristão. Nele eu exploro a visão que o cristão deveria ter sobre a morte. O cristão não deve temer a morte pois a morte á o caminho para Deus.

Ao mesmo tempo, porque não buscamos ativamente a morte para estar com Jesus afinal?

Que Jesus seja louvado.

Life and Death of the Christian
Marcio Pocciotti

One of the aspects of the Christian life is "living by faith". Faith is what gives the Christian strength to go on living. The one who has been born again experiences a new way of life, looking at pleasing God in everything one does. Faith and hope go together when the Christian puts his confidence  in God; he trust that God will keep his promises, he trusts that God, because of His very nature cannot tell a lie and everything He does is right. With that though in mind the Christian "knows" that everything that happens in his life is part of a very well articulated plan created by God since the foundation of the world. Therefore, even in suffering, the Christian, through faith and hope, believes that everything will work together for his good and the glory of God. God is in charge and His will shall be done.

As human beings, creatures of God, we are in a constant search for happiness. Once, the search was motivated by earthly pleasures and the satisfaction of our instincts; but after we have been called by Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, so we could not resist His calling anymore, the pattern of this search changed. Many things that were pleasing to us are not pleasing anymore, and slowly, the things that belong to God's kingdom start to make way into our lives. We start to be satisfied in things that we do to satisfy God; in these things He is glorified. Also, we have now the ability to resist sin. Before Jesus, all we did was sin against God. We are in a process of sanctification; a process of becoming more and more like Jesus.

What would be the top of the search for happiness of someone who belongs to Christ? Nothing material nor anything not-related to our relationship with god could possibly be the answer to this question. Surely, we would be happier living in constant communion with Jesus; we would be happier if we were living in a world without suffering; we would be happier if we could not only resist sin but not sin at all; we would be happier if we would not only wish to please God but please him effectively.

Jesus Christ has promised that he would return to collect His church.  In 1Co:15 Paul talks about the resurrection bodies we shall receive when Christ comes back; and there are many other passages that affirm we will live in His presence for eternity.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifleth himself even as He is pure.” (I John III: v. 2, 3).

Therefore, the hope that we will be with Christ one day and that all suffering will cease, that we will be in his presence permanently should be the top of our search for happiness. There shall be nothing that would make us happier than living a life in constant communion with Jesus. Not only based on hope as is our present relationship but in true certainty.

Although we put our hope in God while we are on this Earth, as humans we are weak and our faith can become shaken, we may fall into sin. Being born of Christ does not guarantee that we will not sin. But once we are transported to his presence, to enjoy the promise of salvation in the son of God, everything bad will be "left behind" and our satisfaction in Him will be complete. Although we may live in relative happiness now that we are of Jesus, it is true that we are not completely happy. There are still many things that happen to us, to our families, to our loved ones, to our churches that result in deep suffering. God gives us ways of dealing with all these things so not to let them rule over us and destroy our lives, but they will continue to happen, given that we live in a fallen world. The world that God intended us to inhabit was a perfect world, before the fall of men.

Shall we not pursue the presence of Jesus Christ with all our might, then? When will we enjoy being is His presence forever?

Certainly, when we die. (if it happens before the coming of Christ)

The Bible teaches that when we die we are transported to the presence of Jesus Christ. In 2 Co 5:6-8 Paul says:

"Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord [the full intimacy we long for is not possible here]—for we walk by faith, not by sight—we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." 2Co 5:6-8

When we die, living our bodies behind, we can finally be with the Lord in full intimacy.
Knowing that is the case, Paul affirms in Philippians 1:21 "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  Paul affirms that there is more value in dying and going to be with Christ than living in this world.

This is justified if we think of the nature of this world and the nature of the world we shall enter when we die. The Bible has beautiful words to describe heaven and the relationship we will have with Jesus Christ after we die and after the second coming of Christ when we will receive our glorified bodies. There is no possible comparison between these worlds when happiness is concerned. The book of Revelation tells us:

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev 21:4

Trusting these words shall give us great encouragement when facing death. Indeed, death is the greatest fear mankind has always have. It is mysterious and confusing. It should not be like that for the Christian, because he knows where he is going when he dies and who is waiting for him when he gets there. Christians should not fear death.

Should the Christian long for death, then?

Although it may sound strange it is a pertinent question. By dying, the Christian would enter a new world in the presence of Jesus, a world with no suffering, a world in permanent communion with God, a world with no tears where we would glorify God with perfection, we would love and please Him with perfection.

Let's examine some topics related to the matter:

1. It is a sin.

Taking your own life or someone else's life is a sin. There is no question about it. There is also no question we commit sins everyday and no sin is greater than other. Although we don't want to sin it is true that we do. We repent and ask god for forgiveness. This time you would be committing a sin on purpose, as part of a plan. Ironically, a plan to transport you to the presence of Christ forever. Would you still go to heaven if you died without confessing your sins?

2. Have you really been born again?

Are you sure you belong to Christ? What if you took your own life only to discover you were never His to begin with? You were not one of the elect of Christ. That would mean eternal separation between you and God. What are the evidences in your life that you are truly a Christian? Do you experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life? Do you recognize quickly when you have sinned and repent? Have you put away your old self and enter the way of sanctification? Have you developed a life with intimacy with God? Who is the Lord of your life? Jesus Christ? Do you fear death or you know what is waiting for you when you die?

3. Do you believe in the promise?

Do you believe the Bible is the word of God revealed to us? Do you believe it is heavenly inspired? Do you believe Jesus Christ has died for you and washed away your sins so you could be justified before God? If you believe some of the Bible is true you should also believe that the Bible as a whole is true; and believe also in the promises it contains. If you believe in the Bible, you should believe also you will be with Christ when you die.

4. Salvation.

Do you believe you could lose your salvation? That seems to be the strongest objection for someone considering longing for death to be with Jesus. The bible clearly teaches that Salvation is a gift from God and it cannot be taken away.

"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.   For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:37-40

So, even if you commit that sin of taking your own life, if you are truly His, you can be sure you will keep your salvation.

Given the arguments above it is hard to find reasons why the Christian would not long for death or even take his own life to enter the presence of Jesus. It appears to be the logical thing to do.

Why don't we do it, then?

It is hard to imagine anything more joyful than living a life with Jesus in heaven. Indeed so hard that it cannot be imagined. Looking for a way that could not just spare us from all the suffering we see in this world but, at the same time, unite us with our Lord is something we cannot afford not to consider. Although it may seem logical it does not seem natural, after all there are millions of Christians alive and it would be a mistake to assume they are not born again Christians.

But once we know that our salvation is secured, rejecting the arguments presented would be to doubt the very promises of the Bible.  Therefore, there must be another reason, outside the logical word, that prevents the Christian from realizing this lead of action.

John 10:7-10 teaches us that the Lord wants us to choose life:

 "So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you,  I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the door. If anyone enters by me,  he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Jo 10:7-10

The will of the Lord is stronger than any action we can perform against Him. It is the will of the Lord that we choose life, even if we think death is gain. Paul knew that a life with the Lord would be wonderful, much more than living in this word, yet he waited for God to exercise His prerogative of dealing with life and death. It is His will that we live in this world until the hour He planned comes. Therefore, even if it seems logical to anticipate our death, committing a sin for a greater good, a longing to be with God, the will of God is preventing us from carrying it out.

"For who can resist his will?" Rom 9:19

We do not take our lives to be with our God because He wants us to live.

It will come to us someday; it is true, it is a matter of time.


Murdoch Campbell, M.A. The God of Bethel,

John Piper, Do we receive our resurrection bodies when we die, or at the end of the age?

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