Sunday, 19 September 2021

Ageing, death and hope.. you decide

THE start of the new academic year, and the change of seasons from summer to autumn, alerts us to the passage of time and our own unavoidable and irreversible process of ageing.

The young man with the sense of invincibility begins to detect signs of his own mortality. The death of one’s grandparents or parents, the onset of arthritis and other chronic ailments; all these draw our attention to the fleeting nature of our existence.

Ageing occurs at the cellular level. Very simply, at either end of a chromosome there is a region called a telomere. These are present in all cells in the human body. The average length of telomeres reduces over the lifetime; it puts a limit on the number of replications a cell can undergo. Each time a cell divides, the length of the telomere decreases to the point at which no more division is possible towards the end of life. Ageing is inevitable and death is inevitable.

The Bible, God’s Word, states that our life is like a breath, like spray from a wave, like the grass that springs up and soon withers (Isaiah 40:6-8).

But as a society we do not like this idea, so we usually choose to ignore it.

I have found this to be the case with coroners, funeral directors and mourners alike. We do not like being confronted with our own mortality.

The Bible is clear that death is a consequence of our rejection of and rebellion against God. But it also says that we are all “destined to die once and after that to face judgement” (Hebrews 9:27 NIV). We will all be held accountable for our actions, our words and our thoughts.

When you die and God calls you to account, what will you say?

God’s judgement is not a weighing up of good deeds over bad deeds; neither is it turning a blind eye on the mess we so often make in our lives and the hurt we cause others.

God’s judgement is utterly just and consistent and impartial and the standard is moral perfection (see Genesis 18:25; Psalm 98:9; Hebrews 4:12-13).

The only possible way that any of us can pass this just judgement is if our rebellion against God is dealt with fully. This is exactly what happened when Jesus died on the cross.

When someone who trusts in Jesus Christ as saviour dies, the judgement and condemnation due to that person has already fallen on Jesus Christ at the cross. God is now just to declare that person to be innocent (Romans 3:21-26).

As you age, and as your own mortality presses upon your mind, do not ignore it, instead make sure you have confessed your rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ and trusted in him as your God and saviour.

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