A few years ago, after having my physical, my doctor said that I was in good shape. I said, “For a man with a terminal condition.” He looked surprised, thought a moment, and then he shook his head, “Yes.” I was in my late sixties. My terminal condition? Old age.
Knowing that we are terminal is sometimes a blessing. I have ministered to believers that had a terminal condition. They were able to prepare. They said what needed to be said, prepared for what needed to be done, and bore witness of their faith and hope in Christ.
All of us have a terminal condition: we are all going to die. I have reached the age where I have more relatives and friends below ground than above. They only exist in memories and, when I die, some will no longer be remembered. When they lived, they made waves in the pond of life. When they died, there was a brief ripple, and now all is still, as if they had never existed.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 ESV
(16) For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
(17) Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
(18) Therefore encourage one another with these words.
For those who do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, termination results in grief and no hope of ever seeing their loved one again. For Christians there may be some grief but it is tempered with the hope of seeing that love one again. The above passage is intended to help with grief and give hope. The Christian looks forward to the Lord’s return for them in the air. That is the termination of the Church Age and the beginning of a life in the glorious presence of his Lord.
When I turned fifty, I asked my Uncle Jack, who had just turned eighty, how he coped. He said, “I plan out the next twenty years.” It was a good example of dealing with termination: look forward and plan accordingly.
Jesus once asked a very important question that all believers need to answer:
John 11:25-26 ESV
(25) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
(26) and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
“Never die” is a wonderful promise! That which is me apart from my aging body, will never die! Eternal life is mine by the grace of God, purchased by my Savior. That promise has enabled me to look to an eternal future and to plan accordingly. It is amazing how that view of life effects my daily life!
1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 ESV
(8) But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
(9) For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
(10) who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
(11) Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
In the above passage the word translated “sober” is a word for one who is on guard but calm and collected. I am a part-time security guard. It is required of me to be “sober,” that is, vigilant, always watching and ready to deal with trouble in a calm and collected manner. The Christian who knows Bible doctrine, is aware of what is going on in the world around him. He evaluates things in a different manner than those who do not know Bible doctrine. He is not dismayed by world events. He is not distraught when trouble comes. He is calm and collected, able to encourage and build up other Christians. Like his Lord, he is well acquainted with grief. But, as a wounded healer, he watches over his brothers and sisters, comforting them with the comfort he has received.
The Christian’s earthly life is terminal, but his spiritual life, coupled with a new spiritual body, is eternal. Dear Christian reader, look to your future and plan accordingly.
God bless you,
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.