The apostle Paul died a martyr for Christ. Christ was magnified in his body in life and in death.
“according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20).
Dying for the sake of Christ glorifies God, but so does living for the sake of Christ. We are to live and die for the glory and honor of the Lord.
“If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Rom. 14:8).
Hebrews 11 is known as the great faith chapter for it chronicles some of the old patriarchs and saints who both lived and died in faith.
After listing the names of those who lived by faith such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, etc. the writer of Hebrews also refers briefly to others who did great exploits through faith. However, he ends with a statement that strikes at the heart of what is at stake when we live or die in faith.
“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection“ (Heb. 11:32-35).
The way one dies and departs from this life can result in a better resurrection. These martyrs could’ve compromised or denied their faith and lived a longer life on the earth, but they chose to die for the Lord. And in doing so and not accepting deliverance, the Scriptures tell us that they obtained a better resurrection.
A better resurrection entails both how you lived and how you die and depart from this earth. We need to live right and die right.
EVERY MAN WILL PASS THROUGH THE GATEWAY OF DEATH
There is a place, dear friends where time meets eternity for every man. All human beings are appointed to die and be judged (Heb. 9:27). Are you ready for that moment? As you are reading this there are multitudes of people that are now struggling in the final throes of death. Some die in luxury, others in poverty. Some die in majestic palaces and mansions lying on beds spread with fine and costly coverings while others die in humble abodes, or worse, lying in dark prison cells. Some die in lonely forests, others in barren deserts or even in raging ocean waters. Some die laying under the scorching sun, yet others may die in the cold and bleak snow covered mountains. Some are murdered and others are killed on the battlefield. Some die a painstaking slow death while others die instantly in some way or suddenly in their sleep. Some die in indescribable suffering and misery while others die in peace. Some die surrounded by comforting or weeping family and friends while others sadly die alone and forgotten. We must all pass through the gateway of death, the common transition state between earth and eternity.
But once again, for the Christian and the Christ follower, to die is gain. To depart is far better. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. That is glorious! And to those who live and die in faith there awaits a better resurrection.
I believe the Scriptures show forth that a better resurrection partly means that the glory of Christ will be manifested in our resurrected bodies in different measures. After all, if there is a better resurrection, it implies that there is one that is not so good, or as good. There will be a difference in how people experience God’s glory in the age to come. This glory and its ensuing rewards are dependent on our faith and obedience in this life and also in death. Did you know that the Pistol Star has a mass 100 times that of the sun, and it’s a million times brighter? Such is the resurrection of our bodies.
“There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:41-42).
I think the prophet Daniel knew this best.
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament,
and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Dan.12:2-3).
May we live and die in faith and make it our aim to be wise by helping turn many to righteousness, so that we may obtain a better resurrection and shine brightly forever.
If you are interested in these themes of death, heaven, and hell please like our Facebook page, Behind The Veil, and enjoy our television program on these themes. These programs will first appear on this page. They are offered in English but dubbed into Arabic for our Arabic speaking viewers. They are broadcast globally with the largest concentration of four million daily viewers in the Middle East. I hope they are a blessing to you and help to stamp eternity in your heart and ignite a passion in you for souls.