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Billy Graham prepares the readers of this tract for the inevitability of the human experience of physical death, but also of the reality of eternal life through belief in Christ.
CHRIST IS ALIVE
I have found that one can tell how a person values life by his estimation of death. I once talked with a man who had never given serious thought to death until it was discovered that he had cancer. “Immediately my entire world changed,” he said. “The things I valued most became worthless, and the things that I thought were of little value are now the most important things in the world to me.”
GETTING READY FOR ETERNITY
Physical life is a possession that we all cling to, and yet we know we must all sooner or later bow to death. It enters the home of the rich as boldly as it enters the apartment in the projects. It brings down the final curtain as swiftly on the famous as it does on the unknown. Before this year ends, many people reading this message will keep their appointment with death.
There are many who say, “I believe in life after death, but I’m not concerned about crossing that bridge until I get to it.” How strange that people should spend years preparing for retirement and not take so much as five minutes to prepare to meet God!
ANOTHER ATTITUDE TOWARD DEATH IS THIS: “I STAND WITH CHRIST, THE LORD OF LIFE AND DEATH, AND REST MY CASE IN HIS HANDS.”
David said, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4). The apostle Paul said,
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Both men were looking ahead to death with calm assurance. They knew that this life is only a dressing room for eternity.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). Death need not be a bitter end—it can be a bright dawning.
ASSURANCE IN LIFE— AND IN DEATH
Christ is alive! And because he is alive, that makes all the difference in the world. In his resurrection, evil has been defeated, love has conquered hate, death has lost its sting, and Satan has been defeated. In his death on the cross, Christ declared that the full penalty for sin has been paid. And one day all of creation will burst forth into a new song.
Christ is alive! The early Christians proclaimed that truth. They believed that the same power that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will work in and through us to rescue us from our doubts, our darkness, our failure, and even our death.
As we look at the world today we cannot help but be disturbed by what is happening. But the resurrection of Christ tells us, as his followers, that we need not press the panic button. It is true that we are concerned and burdened, and it is certain that we are going to die, but we do not cry in terror as others do.
The day before John Hus, a fifteenth-century martyr condemned for his faith in Christ, was to be burned at the stake, he wrote, “I write this in prison and in chains, expecting tomorrow to receive the sentence of death—full of hope in God that I shall not swerve from the truth.”
Is this hope, peace, and joy yours? Can you face death with a smile, with full confidence that you are going into the presence of Christ? You can have this hope if you are willing to turn from sin and trust Christ.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” ROMANS 10:9