Rest In Peace…

There have been an abundance of celebrity deaths this year and it is those deaths that cause people to consider life and death.  Most recently we’ve seen George Michael and Carrie Fisher of Star Wars fame, a day later Debbie Reynolds the mother of Carrie Fisher died.  This past year has included Prince, David Bowie, John Glenn a total of 72 celebrity deaths in 2016.  Even more shocking is that every year 55.3 million people die.  That’s 151,600 per day and 6316 every hour.

None of us will escape death.  It is as inevitable as taxes right?

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment… Hebrews 9:27

It is my assertion that most people are practical “Universalists”.   In other words, most people believe that almost nobody will go to a place like Hell and be punished for their sins.  That’s why so many people say “rest in peace”.  It doesn’t really matter that a person’s lifestyle and testimony of life completely contradict biblical theology.  It doesn’t matter that they lived in complete rebellion to their Creator.  I won’t pick out any of the above named celebrities but I’m not aware that any of them professed Christianity and even among professed Christians Jesus said few will find life.

What does it mean to find peace?

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” – Luke 2:14

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  – Isaiah 9:6

This all seems pretty straight forward and easy to understand in fact as we are working our way through the holiday season it’s almost guaranteed you had one of these verses on a Christmas card.  We all desire peace don’t we?  Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can only be found where there is peace in the land and so we must consider if Jesus accomplished His mission and it doesn’t seem like He did.

Where did Jesus go wrong?

If He is the Prince of Peace and He is to bring peace how do we reconcile this?  Did you notice that in Luke 2 it says that He is going to bring peace to those whom He is pleased?  This forces a deeper question…  How can one please God?

Romans 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 

If God must be pleased in order for us to have peace then we must understand the difference between the flesh and the Spirit.    God’s word tells us that the natural man cannot receive the things of God for they are foolishness to him and that by nature we are children of wrath dead in our sins and trespasses…  We see a difference in the relationship between the type of a person that can please God and the natural man who is in the flesh that cannot please God.

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. – Romans 8:6-7  

It is the Spirit that gives life and it is the Spirit living in us through Christ that causes us to be accepted by God and for God to be pleased.  Through no work of our own, but only through the work of Christ on the cross.  This is the imputation of God’s goodness to the sinner.  The transfer of His righteousness on our behalf.  Not that we are made righteous, but legally we are declared as we should before the Father.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.  But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. –  Romans 8:9-10

What an incredible statement of what Christ accomplished on the cross for those that will believe upon His name.  You can have peace with God through Christ and the Spirit indwelling your heart.  Now we can please God.  Now we can be accepted by God through faith.

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6

By faith and faith alone only can we please God and by pleasing God through faith we can now have peace.  We have peace with God, we have peace in our hearts, we have peace with as many around us as will live at peace with us.  As far as is up to us we will live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:18).

But it’s not always up to us is it?  And actually the problem with peace comes when you proclaim a truth to those that don’t want to hear it.  This is an attempt to make peace but it’s an attempt to make peace between man and God.  These two things don’t mix and when the gospel is presented it often brings conflict.  Peacemakers are more concerned about others relationship with God than they are about the relationship with other men.  And persecution is sure to follow.

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth.  I did not come to bring peace but a sword. – Matthew 10:34

This really messes things up doesn’t it?  Or does it?

The Sword of the Word divides.  It brings conviction and it brings truth, it shines light in a dark place.  It breaks up hard ground in some cases but this is not good news to sinful ears.  This is what Jesus meant.  His doctrine would divide people.  Even those of a household.

There is only one way to rest in peace.  And that comes at a high cost.  It can cost our lifestyle.  It can cost our family.  It can cost our job.  It can even cost our life.

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.  – Matthew 16:25-27

What’s it worth to you?  Is Christ worth giving it all up?  I can’t answer that question for you but I do ask you to answer that question for yourself.  Because ten out of ten people die.  The odds are 100%.  And it is appointed once for you to die and then the judgment.

Are you ready?

Will you rest in peace?



I never knew Stuart Scott…



…I don’t know anybody that does know Stuart Scott, and so I can’t say anything about him with absolute certainty. I do know that he was well liked and loved by many. By all accounts I’d be pretty certain we could have hung out and become friends. I’m confident we’d engage in good conversation and enjoy a cup of coffee together. He seemed likeable. He seemed decent. He obviously had a tremendous amount of love for his family.

I’m not a huge sports fan, but the times that I saw Stuart Scott on ESPN I thought he was incredibly talented and was on some very funny commercials. So for the most part I’d say I really liked him. Today I’m still 49 years old and on Sunday Stuart Scott’s life ended at 49 years of age. I’m not sure why his life ended and mine continues, but that’s just the way it is. God is in control, and it is His decision who lives and who dies. He’s sovereign over all of it.

This article is not about Stuart Scott. It’s about you. It’s also about me. And most importantly it’s about the God that gives us life, and takes away life. If you or I don’t recognize that truth…that reality, then this article really needs to be considered long and hard. It takes hard work to really think about things like this, because…well honestly, because it’s just plain hard. I hate thinking about death. I hate watching shows where people die, especially the young or especially those that seem “good”.

I really wish it wasn’t that way, but it is. It is because man wanted to have his own way. Ultimately a man, Adam, chose his own way. Not God’s way. So we are left with that life taking cancer, if you will. It has us all infected, infected to the point of death. There was a warning that came along with the command. Don’t eat from this one tree, and if you do, you WILL die. And now we see that clearly in the death of what seemed like a really nice man.

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. – Hebrews 9:27

Every one of us will die once. That speaks of our life here on earth. Our physical bodies… they will die. There is no doubt. And we see the reality of what happens next. The judgment. This means we will face judgment after our death. It’s easy to understand isn’t it?

But do you, or do I, really understand that? Please allow that sink in for just a moment. We will stand before the Creator and be judged. He knows every thought we’ve ever had. He knows every deed we’ve ever done. He sees it all. Nothing is hidden from His sight.

That time when you were so angry with, you fill in the blank, that you just wanted to smack them… did you know that is the same as murder? Every time you looked upon another human with sexual desire, other than your spouse that is the same as adultery? Every lie you ever told has been recorded in the book and every disobedient act against your parents.

Did you know that you’ve committed treason against the One that made you? Treason is a crime punishable by death.   It really sounds grim. It sounds hopeless.

Did you know there is a way out of the bottomless pit you are now in? His name is Jesus. He died on a cross nearly 2000 years ago, and if you turn to Him, cast off your sins and repent of them, then place all your hope and trust in Him, you will be saved. You will be saved from God’s wrath and indignation toward those that are at enmity with Him.

There is still hope for you, if you are reading this. There is still hope for me as I write. I can’t save myself anymore than Stuart Scott could heal himself of cancer. That’s why we need Jesus. He came to this earth and healed to prove His divinity. He lived, He suffered, He died, and He rose again to conquer death. That is the good news. That is the best news I’ve ever heard. Will you reject His sacrifice today, or will you submit to His Lordship. You will give account.

He said these words that we could understand His grace and His mercy. He will give you rest, if you are tired of fighting against the deaths of this world. He gives life, and He gives it richly to those that place their hope in Him.

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29-30

I hope Stuart Scott knew this.