“But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:10
“Am I going to die?” he asked. I looked up from where I was sitting at his bedside and locked eyes with the doctor who was standing in the doorway. The expression on the doctor’s face told me his answer. “Yes,” I said.
The young man’s expression didn’t change. The doctor turned and left, his footsteps echoing down the hallway. The hospital room was silent except for the noise of the machines that were keeping the young patient alive.
For a moment, I thought he was asleep. I was startled when he asked, “What will happen when I die?”
“That depends.” I answered.
“On your choice. There are two options for where you go when you die: heaven or hell. You make that choice.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Well, you see, we have all done things wrong. We are all sinners. Our sin separates us from God. If we don’t do something about it, we will be separated from God forever in a place called hell. The Bible calls hell the ‘lake of fire.’”
“What can I do?”
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, God became a man in the person of Jesus. He lived a perfect sinless life. He willingly sacrificed His life on the cross for you. His death paid the price for your sins. They buried Jesus and three days later, He rose from the dead. Because of what Jesus did, God offers you salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life as a gift that you must receive by faith. Just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
“Will I then go to heaven and not hell?”
“My mom believed that. She used to tell me that I needed Jesus. Do you really believe?”
“I do too.”
I took his hand and prayed with him. The next morning, he left this world.
In my years as a U.S. Army Chaplain, hospital chaplain, and pastor, I have witnessed many scenes like the one described here. I have watched as many people have died. I am familiar with the reality of death.
For perhaps the first time in the history of our nation, the reality of death is on everybody’s mind. The hysteria surrounding the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is causing most Americans to consider their own mortality. Our country is confused and scared.
As Christians, we have the answer to the fear that surrounds death. Right now, we have an opportunity to have conversations with nonbelievers about death and what happens when you die. We have an opportunity to share the truth of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The point is: Death is a reality we must all face. Whether we face death with fear or with confidence depends completely on if we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So, let me ask you: If you died tomorrow, would you go to heaven?
You had better be sure.
It’s a matter of eternal life and death.
James Collins is the pastor of First Southern Baptist Church. He can be reached at (620) 223-2986 or through the website www.fortscottfsbc.com.