Q&A with Pastor Chris - Why do Christians Die?
Question: Dear Pastor, If Jesus died for us Christians, then why do Christians still die?
Answer: Okay. Firstly, the physical body has how much it can take on its own. And, there’s so much you’ve got to do for your body if you’re going to keep it alive for all time. You would have to do something to your body through the Spirit. So, it’ll depend on how much knowledge of God’s word you’ve got and how much influence [the impact] of the Spirit on your body that can keep your body vitalized continually. How you treat your body. Do you wear out your body? Remember, the bible tells us how that Jesus rested, that He rested in the boat. Why? Because He was tired! One other time, He rested at the well of Samaria. Why? Because He was tired! So, it’s possible to get tired and when you get tired, do you rest to recoup? So many Christians don’t do that and that means they will wear out their body before it should die if it were to die. So, it really depends on the individual; how much faith in God’s word and how you are able to take care of your body. Can you actually take care of this body with enough discipline to keep it alive? If you could, you could actually live forever! But there’s more.
There is the divine plan of God as far as living in the earth is concerned. For example, Peter, the apostle, was shown by Jesus how he was going to die, which means, in God’s plan, Peter was to die. Now, Peter can’t be alone in such a thing. So, it’s up to God. There are those who will see the rapture of the church and there are those who will die before then. Now, if you’d read in St. John’s gospel chapter 21, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee wither thou wouldest not.” [John 21: 18] Listen to verse 19 - very important: “This spake he, signifying by what death he [Peter] should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.” [John 21:19] So, the bible says Jesus said these words to Peter to let him know by what death he should glorify God. In other words, He told Peter he was going to grow to be an old man and he was going to die a certain way. Now, if you turn to 2 Peter chapter 1, you’d find Peter’s reference to that very occasion. From verse 13, “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;” he’s referring to his physical body. “Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.” [2 Peter 1:13-14] See! He says, “Knowing that shortly;" so, this was at the ending part of his ministry and he realized that the time was coming closer in which he would lay aside his body; in other words, die. He said, “….as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.” And this was that occasion when the Lord showed him how he was going to die. So, it could also be the divine plan or the destiny of a particular Christian to die in that way. So, you can understand why some Christians die.
Lastly, from Hebrews chapter 11, from verse 35; there’s also very instructive information there. From verse 35, talking about the acts of faith by so many different people that He already listed. And then it got to verse 35 and it says, “Women received their dead raised to life again; and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.” [Hebrews 11:35] They were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Not accepting deliverance; they did not accept deliverance; they went through sufferings, they were tortured, not accepting deliverance. Now, listen further, [reading verse 36] “…and others had trial of cruel mocking and scourging, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder [that meant ‘torn apart’], were tempted, were slain with the sword [were killed with the sword].” [Hebrews 11:36] So, there were Christians who didn’t accept deliverance. They went through persecutions and they were killed. In fact, Jesus said the time would come when believers will be killed by those who will think they are doing God service [John 16:2]. So, He already indicated these things and so, when a Christian dies it doesn’t mean that he couldn’t have lived for ever. This was part of God’s plan that the physical body of a Christian may be terminated at a certain point, not because he couldn’t have lived forever.
And, by the way, your question was this, “If Jesus died for us Christians then why do Christians still die?” I want to remind you that the death of Jesus was two-fold: one was a spiritual death and the other was a physical death. So, the spiritual death that He accomplished for us was to bring us out of our spiritual death, which was separation from God. So, that’s still very much there. And then, the physical death that has to do with the cessation of life in the body was equally accomplished for us but, you see, He’s already given us a better plan. The bible says, “There are terrestrial bodies, and there are celestial bodies.” [1 Corinthians 15: 40] So, we do have, right now, a terrestrial body and in the future, according to the scriptures, we will put on our celestial body. And, in a moment of time, it’ll be changed, but some will die before then and some will remain alive [1 Corinthians 15: 52]. And that’s why the bible says, “We that are alive and remain shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” [1 Thessalonians 4: 17] So, it could happen to some Christians for the various reasons that I’ve given you.