Herald Journal Columns
Sept. 6, 2004 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Death – the enemy we just can’t beat

By Rev. Gerald Boldt, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran, Winsted

The God-inspired writer of Psalm 90 said, “The length of our days is 70 years - or 80, if we have the strength, yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass and we fly away.”

It seems that our pending death is the universal enemy. None can escape its ever creeping, ever advancing grasp.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all think about getting old, with death as the final result. Yet, millions and millions of dollars are spent in futile attempts to reduce its overpowering affect.

Products to remove wrinkles, restore hair color and increase virility are continually advertised over the media. Men and women alike are enslaved with the concern that the clock cannot be turned back and that someday their advanced age will set the stage for death.

The cause of this terminal condition is documented in Genesis with the account of the fall of mankind into sin. God warned Adam and Eve that they must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or they would die. Scripture describes the result of Adam’s failure to obey God’s commandment, for in Genesis 5:5, it says that, “Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.” Even with such an advanced age, the inevitable came to pass, and Adam died.

The same terminal sentence has been handed down to each of us, as well. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.”

Because of our state as sinners, each of us has been sentenced to death. The verdict is yet to be carried out in our temporal lives, which means that we are prisoners held captive within this life’s death row.

Yet, a stay of execution has been issued. The good news comes in the portion of the Romans Chapter 6 passage that continues, “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Because Christ suffered and died for our sins, we should believe that the sentence of eternal, spiritual death has been lifted. Our future in the life that counts – our eternal hope has been assured.

I am sorry to say that I have no clear answer for the deadly secular plight that awaits us. Each of us will continue to move closer to our final day when temporal death will claim its victory.

Nonetheless, we should believe with God’s full promise, that no matter how death in this life comes, with the forgiveness of our sins, made possible only by the suffering and death of Jesus as our Savior, eternal life is assured and we will live on forever.