This week the world lost an incredible man. August Charles Brockenbush, Jr. You may not know Charles personally. You may not have ever met him. But so many loved him. And for good reason.
I knew Charles for about three years. And in those three short years he impacted my life greatly. He showed me what it looks like to love without condition and to stand by your people always–even when they didn’t earn or deserve that kind of loyalty. He showed me what it looks like to live generously. And how to stand for what you believe is right even when you’re standing alone. This man was one of a kind. And he impacted more people than I will ever know. And I will miss him dearly.
Right now I’m grieving over his passing. I’m realizing now more than ever how special of a man he was, and how lucky I am to have known him.
Maybe you didn’t know Charles. But you probably know what it’s like to lose someone who matters to you. To realize today is not going to be the same as it was yesterday and neither will tomorrow because someone special, someone significant to you has passed on.
It’s the harsh realization that death hurts that I wanted to address today.
Here are three truths about death that everyone needs to know.
#1 Death Comes to All
You may not know this, but God did not create people to die. In fact, God created mankind to live forever in His presence with perfect peace. Peace with God. Peace with others. And peace with all of creation.
But that is not the world we know. That is not the world we live in today.
Something has gone terribly wrong.
The Apostle Paul writes,
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. (Romans 5:12, ESV)
Death was introduced to the world through one act of sin. The sin of Adam. The Bible tells this tragic story in Genesis chapter 3. Through Adam’s sin–his act of rebellion against God–sin entered the world. And death came with it.
Death is the consequence of sin (see Romans 6:23). Now we all die because we all sin. Just like our first parents, Adam and Eve, we all rebel against God and commit our own acts of sin against him. And because we all sin, we all die.
#2 You Can’t Cheat Death
Before modern advancements in medicine and technology, people lived under the weight that death comes to all. Life spans were shorter. Mortality rates were higher. People simply understood that one day they were going to die, and there was nothing they could do about it.
We don’t really view death the same way today. Our culture views death as an accident. As something that could be avoided if we only had the right timing and resources.
There are even many leaders and CEO’s over in Silicon Valley investing millions of dollars in experimental research aimed at discovering ways to regenerate cells to extend quality life to over 100 years.
It’s interesting to me because the misguided aspirations of these people reveal a fundamental truth found in the Scriptures–that God has put eternity into the heart of man (see Ecclesiastes 3:11). According to Scripture, we were created to live forever. And, according to our own experience, we want to live forever.
Nobody wants to die.
But you can’t cheat death. Human beings have been trying to conquer death for centuries. But no one has ever been successful.
Except for one man.
#3 Jesus Conquered Death
When you come face to face with the reality of death, there is only one place to find hope. It’s not in medicine. And it’s not in technology. You can only find it in the good news of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the only person who was ever born who was born to die. Even though Jesus never sinned and never deserved death, He came freely and willingly to die a sinner’s death. And that’s exactly what He did when He submitted Himself to execution by crucifixion 2,000 years ago.
On that cross, Jesus Christ–the perfect, sinless, Son of God–died the death we all deserve so that we could inherit the life only He could provide.
What kind of life is that? Resurrection life. Eternal life. Abundant life.
It sounds unbelievable. But God proved that His promises were true in Christ by raising Him from the dead on the third day.
Jesus died a real death. He was buried in a real tomb. And three days later He was really raised from the dead. Now He lives forever and sits at the right hand of God. And He is inviting every person into a relationship with Him. A relationship founded on faith. Faith in Him and what He accomplished for us.
And it’s through this relationship–through faith in Jesus–that we too can have victory over death.
This good news led the Apostle Paul to write these words,
Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57, ESV)