All Because Of Christ
Just a few hours after Melissa’s soul went to heaven on November 6, Jacob and I had a conversation about what had happened. I needed to know not only that he understood, but also that he would be OK. And in that special way that he can be so sweet sometimes, he said to me, “Dad, you don’t have to cry — Mom is with Jesus now. She has no more pain!”
Yep, that made me cry even more, and I explained to him that while I don’t have to cry, there will be times that I won’t be able to help it, simply because I miss her and I’m an emotional human being.
But I also thought of the Bible verse where Paul explains what happens to Christ-followers who die, and he says that he does this “so you will not grieve like people who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). And I immediately thought of the phrase, “It’s all because of Christ.”
“It’s all because of Christ” is a phrase from a favorite song of mine, and it represents so much truth.
It’s all because of Christ that we do not grieve like people who have no hope.
In John 11, the famous passage where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, before He performed that miracle, Jesus told Lazarus’ sister Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never ever die. Do you believe this?”
Well, do you believe this? I believe this.
Later in John 14, Jesus explained to the disciples how He would go to His Father’s house to prepare places for them. Thomas wasn’t sure about this, so Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” It’s all because of Christ.
We all know, in our heart of hearts, that we are not “good enough” on our own. Our good efforts and best intentions can never outweigh the bad that we have done. The Bible clearly explains that we all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and that the outcome or result of that sin is death (Romans 6:23).
Yes, we will all die — Hebrews 9:27 says we are all destined to die, but after that death comes a judgment. The judgment is simply this: Did we believe Jesus? Did we believe that no one can come to God the Father except through Jesus? Did we trust Him?
Thankfully, the very next verse, Hebrews 9:28, tells us that Jesus died His physical death “as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” So we don’t have to hope that we’re “good enough,” or be uncertain about our future, or be uncertain about our current relationship with God. Jesus has paid the price. “When sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices” (Hebrews 10:18). Jesus has canceled our debt. Jesus paid it all.
John 1:12 tells us, “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him (Jesus), He gave the right to become children of God.” It’s all because of Christ. He took the punishment for my sins — past, present, and future. I just need to believe Him and accept Him. “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). I don’t have to worry about a future judgment, because I belong to Christ Jesus. I am truly God’s child.
The same was true for Melissa. When her soul left her body and entered eternity, there was no condemnation of her — she was immediately recognized as God’s child. Just like when my son has been gone from home and is returning, I know he is coming, and I’m excited to see him. There’s no hesitation on my part of whether I’ll answer the door or let him in — he’s my son! I’ve got the door propped open for him, I’m watching for him, ready to welcome him and give him a hug. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in the parable of “the prodigal son,” Jesus describes the father in the story as expectantly waiting and watching, welcoming the son with open arms and a warm embrace. I think maybe Jesus had seen that actually played out time and time again as the Heavenly Father welcomes His children to their eternal home.
This gives us hope. It gives us confidence. It gives us comfort. Is it still a painful situation? For sure. Will there be tears and grief? Every day. Jesus Himself affirmed that this life will not be easy, but He also gave us hope: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart [be of good cheer; be encouraged; take strength from this], because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
As I face the upcoming winter, I know there will be many cold days. It’s a part of living in Michigan during these months. But I also know I can endure those days because I have a warm home, a warm coat, a hat, gloves, a car with heated seats, etc. The cold is still there, but it doesn’t affect me the same way. So it is with grief — it’s still there, but because I have God’s love, God’s promises, and the love and support of family and friends, I know the grief won’t affect me in the same way. I will sorrow, but as one who HAS HOPE.
I don’t have some superhuman faith. I’m not stronger than other people. The opposite is probably true, especially right now — my faith is very simple, and my weakness is most evident. But I don’t have to go through this in my own strength; I’m not self-reliant. I’m simply clinging to God’s promises. “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). It’s all because of Christ.
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one — for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one — for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky or in the earth below — indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)
As the song says:
If my heart is overwhelmed
With peace in the storm,
It’s all, it’s all because of Christ.
Posted on 2020-11-21 #Death #Melissa Dunn