Jump Start # 2073
Hebrews 2:15 “and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”
Things change when one becomes a Christian. It’s much more than simply being good and going to worship on Sunday. Those are some obvious changes. But one of the greatest changes is how one thinks and how one sees things.
Our verse is just one of many examples of this in the N.T. Before Jesus came, Satan had a grip on mankind. His ultimate victory was death. Everyone died. Everyone who died stayed dead. There was no getting around it. Great kings, noble warriors, prophets, patriarchs, heroes, they all died. Abraham died. Noah died. Daniel died. Even, Jesus’ cousin, John, died. They all died. And it seemed that Satan had the last word. A dark cloud hung over humanity. You will die and that’s it. Job asked, “If a man dies, does he live again?” There was no definitive answer from Heaven to his question. Not then. Centuries later, Solomon said that the soul goes to God at death. But even at that, that dark cloud of death hung over the world.
There was nothing good to say about death. There was nothing nice about death. There was a fear of death as our passage mentions. But with the resurrection of Jesus, all that changed. It was more than Up from the grave He arose. He burst open that locked door of Satan. He was raised never to die again.
It was Jesus who said that all who are in the tombs shall come forth
It was Jesus who promised eternal life to those who believe
It was Jesus who said do not fear the one who can kill the body and do no more
It was Paul who mocked, ‘O’ death where is your victory? O’ death, where is your sting?’
It was Paul who proclaimed that death is a gain
It was John who wrote in Revelation, blessed are those who die in the Lord
It was the Thessalonians who were told that there is a hope in death
Through Christ and because of Christ, the dark cloud of death is gone. Among believers, death is no longer feared. Among believers, it’s welcomed. It’s seen as a way to be with the Lord. It’s viewed as not being over, but a doorway that takes us to the Lord. Everything we have hoped for and longed after is there with the Lord. Peace from the problems that plague us here. Through with temptations and sin. No more pills. No more traffic. No more bad news. No more stress and trouble from those who do not love the Lord. No more nights. No more feeling bad. No more wrong. When a Christian nears the end of his life, the medical community will want to continue to offer surgeries, treatments and all kinds of pills to keep us alive. The Christian, knowing that death is coming, may pass on all those. Surrounded with his family, he way want to just go on and be with the Lord. The world doesn’t understand that.
This is more than an article about death. It shows us that in Christ, we see things differently than the world does. It shows us that we see things differently than what even we used to see things. Christ has changed us from the inside out.
Death isn’t the only topic that our thinking has changed. Consider some others:
Success: once that was defined by the square footage of your house, the brand of car you drove and how fat your 401 was. Success, still defined by the world, is measured by numbers and especially money. The more you have, the more successful you are. Expensive, showy, and making others envious is the mark of a well made man. That’s how the world sees it. Christ changes that. Success with the Lord is walking with Him. Some of the greatest successes in the Bible were common servants, former lepers, those who were once demon possessed but they walked with the Lord. Poor Lazarus, so helpless and sick that he was laid at the rich man’s gates. When he died, the angels came. His death would only make the papers because he died outside someone’s gates. Homeless. Helpless. Yet, to God, Lazarus was more successful than the rich man ever was. It’s not the brands you wear on the outside, it’s the faith and love that you carry on the inside. Christ changes our thinking. Is wearing nice labels wrong? Not if you can afford them. Not if you continue to help others and be generous as God is. But if those brands make me think I’m better than others or they define who I am, then yes, they are wrong. Because brands do not impress God.
Love: Biblically, love is a choice we make that is not based upon what the other person does. Love is not a reaction. Love is the foundation of the golden rule. Love is what motivates us to pray and even do what we can for our enemies. This concept of love is not known to the world. We see this lack of love by the very folks who are screaming for tolerance. They want acceptance and demand to be accepted, while at the same time using profane words towards those who are different than they are. It’s easy to get caught up in that stuff and it’s easy to love only those who love you. Christ changes how we love because He first loved us while we were yet sinners.
When one becomes a Christian, his thinking is rewired. He sees things differently. No longer is he plagued with fear, as the world is. Worry doesn’t dominate his heart and steal his sleep at night. He doesn’t judge others as he once did. He doesn’t think of self first. His outlook, his heart, his thinking changes.
It’s this part of Christianity that the world doesn’t get. It’s not the doctrine. It’s not the commitments. It’s seeing things so differently. It’s not lusting after power and things. It’s not being enamored with who is kissing who in Hollywood. It’s not having any interest in things that have no value or purpose. Sitting around and rehashing last night’s TV show isn’t important to the child of God. The world can’t understand that. The fashion industry, the movie world, sports, the music industry—they have become idols to a world without Christ. The child of God may notice these things, but his life isn’t set to those things.
I remember seeing on TV a long time ago, people wailing when Elvis died. One pitiful girl summed it so well when she bawled, “My life is over. I can’t live without Elvis.” Really? Fast forward to the death of many media icons. It’s the same reaction. The world surrounds these things. Not the Christian. He may enjoy the music but life is much more than those icons.
Christ changes our thinking. We see things from Heaven’s perspective. This “God view” of things shapes us and moves us to what really matters. How does one get this type of Heavenly Vision? It comes by faith. It comes from spending time with the Bible open. It comes through worship. It comes from listening more to what God says than what the world says.
Seeing things differently…and because of that, death is no longer feared.