Fear Not Death, O My Soul
Be Faithful Unto Death For The Crown Of Life

Galatians 1:6-9: I am astonished that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ for another gospel, 7 which is not really another gospel; save that there are some who are throwing you into confusion and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel to you contrary to what we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone is preaching a gospel to you contrary to what you received, let him be accursed.

Some people sow the seeds of confusion that pervert the gospel of Christ.  We, however, must continue to put our trust in the gospel of God’s gracious salvation in Christ and not be turned from it before we die.  We must remain faithful unto death to receive the crown of life.

Before you die, when you are deathly ill, you can expect good intentioned well-wishers to visit you.  You will then hear them say such things as: “Oh, everything will work out just fine.  Watch and see!  Into every life a little rain must fall, but soon the sun will shine brightly on you again.  You’ll be up and around in no time!”  Such are the pious platitudes they are likely to hold out to you as a gospel of hope.  Their clichés are supposed to make you believe that you will surely become well again.  They are supposed to give you hope for the future.  But oh, the false hopes they can hold out to you.  They can even distract you from putting your trust in the Lord and his Word.

Upon hearing such false hopes that are held out to the dying, I feel like asking the well-wisher, “How do you know everything will work out for the better?  Are you God?  Do you know what is in the future?  Do you have the power to make things turn out as you say they will?  If not, please keep your empty words to yourself.  It is enough you are deceived.  Don’t deceive this poor soul.  He is facing death with little prospect of recovery short of a divine miracle, which you cannot know will occur or perform.”

I say nothing, however, because the well-wishers are family and friends who mean well.  They merely wish to offer some hope to the dying for going on.  Unfortunately, they know nothing of what does hold out hope to the dying--the Word and promises of God, who saved us and gave us eternal life.  In him and in his Word, not well-meaning clichés, you must put your hope for however your ill health may turn out.  The Lord promises to make all things work out for your good, which he says in Romans 8:28: “And we know that God works all things for good for those who love him, for those who are the called ones according to his will.” Thus if you survive to live, this will be for your good; if you die, that will be for your good.  If you live, you will do so by his grace.  If you die, you will do so by his grace, to inherit eternal life, which is so much better than further suffering.  Whether you live or die, then, it will be by his grace for your good.  Knowing this, you will be prepared for whatever happens with the peace of mind that by God’s grace your ill health will work out all right--not because some well-wisher said it would, but because your Lord has promised it will.

Well-wishers are not the only ones who can sow seeds of confusion that pervert the gospel of Christ.  Watch out for the deceived disciples of the devil, who will consider your dying days their last opportunity to convert you to their heresies and false beliefs--the idolaters of false religions.   Watch out for them.  Remember the apostle Paul’s warning: “As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone is preaching a gospel to you contrary to what you received, let him be accursed. Do not accept any “gospel” that is different from the gospel of God’s grace and peace and everlasting salvation through faith in Jesus Christ that you have believed.  If you do, you will not be saved but condemned.  If you deserted the saving gospel of Christ shortly before your death, when you had eternal salvation in your hand, how tragic that would be!

The “gospel” of the false religions of the world is really no gospel at all, as Paul said when he wrote:  “I am astonished that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ for another gospel, which is not really another gospel. . .” Their “gospel” is a message of works you must perform to save yourself.  It is the devil’s plague from hell to deceive Christians like you into believing you must save yourself.  The clear message of God’s grace and peace through Christ is absent.  The good news that God has saved you through Christ is missing.  The promise you are saved by faith alone in Christ Jesus is not there.  The false “gospel” of works that you must do to save yourself holds no comfort of salvation.  It leads only to this fear: “Have I done enough, well enough, to be right with God and saved?”

Don’t let the devil deceive you into abandoning the goodness and love of God as he deceived Eve in Eden.  His deception led to her death and the death of us all.  His great lie that Eve must act in her own behalf rather than trust in the Lord’s goodness led to the downfall of the whole human race and to eternal damnation with him in hell.  The devil’s false “gospel” of works has come from hell.  Let his disciples who spread it take it to hell with them, as Paul said when he wrote to let them be accursed.  Don’t, however, let them drag you down to hell with it.  If anyone should offer you a “gospel” other than the one you have believed and were baptized into, cling to the true saving gospel of Christ, who has told you in Revelation 2:10: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.