Tuesday 20 November 2018


Dear Friends,

Today we are going to rise above life and death! Strange as it may sound but this is absolutely necessary! Let's see how...

The most important thing for a person in this world is that he remains alive. All that we say, all that we do, and all that we gain are meant for the sake of life. It is life that lends meaning and value to all things. Without life, everything is meaningless.

That is the reason why people have been thinking, talking and writing about death. Not until the time Jesus died that humanity really got the first real breakthrough in solving the problem called death. In this brief chapter we are going to discuss how this breakthrough has changed the destiny of entire mankind. It affects both you and me.

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In 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verse 26 from Bible, it is written, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” For us mortals, the destruction of death is a gateway to life – eternal life. This future event is foretold to us as a promise from God. God has founded this promise on a firm ground. What provides firm ground for God’s promise is the resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus during His brief stay in this world brought to life many people who had died. This He did in order to show to the world that He held power over life and death. It was one of the proofs of His being God.

Therefore, when Jesus Himself was hung on the cross, His enemies taunted Him by saying that He saved others but He could not save Himself. Jesus wanted to show them that He could save Himself from something that was worse than the suffering of the cross, and that something was death.

In order to prove this, He had to die first. So He did. As He had told His disciples, on the third day He conquered death and came to life again. Not only He came alive on the third day, He spent as many as 40 days with His disciples. And after 40 days, He ascended to Heaven right in front of sizable number of His disciples.

The purpose of His resurrection is to prove to us that if He is capable of conquering death and come to life again, He also has the power to bring us to life again. Not only that; He also showed that what He promised to His followers was also true. What He promised to His followers was exactly this:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)

Dear friends, Jesus has returned to Heaven to prepare a place for us. And when He is done with it, He will surely return to the earth. Just as the world saw Him going to Heaven, it will also see Him coming down to earth with the glory of God. There is time appointed for His return. All the Christians are now waiting for this Mega-Event. It will be such an event that the human history has never seen anything like that before.

This, then, is the reason why Jesus constantly instructed people to think about spiritual life, not about things which are meant for our body alone. Things which are meant for body tend to perish by use. Our money, food, cloths, etc perish by use. They do not increase by use.

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“The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Please note that Jesus is not against having treasure on earth; He is against the condition in which a person is not rich toward God. It is absolutely necessary that we are rich toward God.

The parable quoted instructs us about what happens if we are not rich toward God. But the matter does not stand there. It goes beyond death. Jesus informs us about the same with another parable which is quoted below:

“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom (to Heaven).

The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades (Hell), he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

“Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’” (Luke 16:19-26)

As you can see, Jesus in the parable quoted above is talking about the life that is awaiting us once we finish the present life (our flesh-and-blood existence) that we are living in this world. Yes, after this life is over, we are going to enter into another life which is endless. It will be a spiritual life.

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However, what marks the difference between the spiritual lives of these two sets of people is that the good people will spend eternity in Heaven; whereas the bad people will spend eternity in Hell. According to Bible, the eternity that will be enjoyed by good people in Heaven is called eternal life; and the eternity that will be spent in indescribable torment and pain in Hell is called the Second Death. The Second Death is the spiritual life that sinners are going to live endlessly in Hell. This is extremely important to understand.

Many people commit suicide in order to escape the troubles and sorrows of the present life in this world. If we cannot endure the problems of this life, how can we ever endure infinitely great problems of the life that is lived in Hell for eternity? It is beyond the power of man to escape life in Hell. Once a person enters Hell, he must live there for eternity. There is no other way out. It is utterly hopeless condition.

Therefore, Bible describes the soul of a person who goes to Hell as a lost soul. Jesus, with His characteristic economy of expression, warned people who were too occupied with concerns which were limited to this earthly life and were totally unmindful of the eternal life that was to come after death. This is what He said: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”

There is no want of people who set all their stores on what they achieve or gather in this world. Money, properties, big mansions, cars, beautiful life partner, smart kids….The list of what people desire under the sun goes on and on. There is no end to desire. All these things can be enjoyed as long as we are alive. But a day comes in everyone’s life when he will die. All are mortal; nobody is immortal.

Therefore, all the pleasures of this life are going to end with the end of this physical life. There is wisdom in thinking and caring for things which are meant for the life that lies beyond death. Jesus has taught us how we can ensure happiness in the life after death. He did this by the acts which are directed by the Spirit, not by the body. Acts of the Spirit are aimed at achieving spiritual growth, and denying our body the pleasures which are sinful. Acts of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Unlike our earthly possessions, these acts of the Spirit will accompany us beyond our grave and provide us access to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven is something that we can never lose once we have it.

It is exactly in this respect that Jesus once said to people around Him that those who gather with Him gather; but those who do not gather with Him scatter.

This brings us to the question what it means to scatter. The person who does not gather with Jesus is exactly the person who tries to gather with the world. According to Bible, gathering with the world means committing the acts of the flesh or body in order to satisfy our body.

The acts of the flesh include sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.

It is necessary, here, to know what is meant by the word ‘idolatry’. Idolatry is the worship of idols. Bible considers it as a sin because it sees idolatry as worship of something that replaces God. To put it plainly, if money is more important for us than God, then money becomes an idol. If a person is an egoist and does not like to give more importance to God than to his own self, then his ‘self’ becomes an idol that he worships.

Those who commit these sins will not inherit the Kingdom of God, that is, the Kingdom of Heaven. This, then, is what they scatter, or lose, who do not gather with Jesus. And not having the Kingdom of Heaven simply means having Hell. If a person will not have one, then he will surely have the other. Therefore, he will render himself great service if he makes a choice between 1. the spiritual and the physical 2. Heaven and Hell.




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