By Leonard Lauriault
When a person dies seemingly before their time, the question is often asked, “How could God do such a thing?” I even caught myself thinking that recently.
The answer is that God didn’t do it. Death results from Adam’s sin. God warned Adam what would happen if he ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and his death came about (Genesis 2:15-17; Genesis 3:1-24). That sin brought about the physical death of every person since then and that will continue until Jesus returns (Romans 5:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). Now death is a matter of life and we need to understand just how short anyone’s life can be (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2; James 4:14; Isaiah 2:22).
Despite the fact that we’ll all die because of Adam’s sin, everyone sins and deserves it (Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 John 1:8-10). God is patient in not punishing us immediately when we sin, though, because he wants us to have an opportunity to turn to him seeking forgiveness so we can avoid the real consequence of sin – the second death of eternal punishment in the lake of fire (2 Peter 3:8-9, 14-15; Psalm 103:10; Revelation 20:11-15). In fact, he’s put us here at the best of times so we can have that opportunity (Acts 17:26-27).
Still, we never know when it’ll be our time and no one even has the guarantee of their next breath; they only have the breath they’ve just inhaled. In fact, the occasion of our death may or may not necessarily be directly due to our own sin (John 9:1-3). For example when a 40-year-old health conscious Christian dies of an aneurism while he was working out on his treadmill (that was one of my friends).
In actuality, regarding physical death, no one dies before their time, but it will always be at the right time because God is in control (Romans 8:28). Jesus is an example of someone dying at just the right time (Romans 5:6). He died the physical death – the first death – so that no one would have to face the second death (1 Corinthians 15:21-26).
Although God’s patient, Satan holds the power of death exercising it through deceit because wants everyone to die without being forgiven (Hebrews 2:14-15; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 20:10). He even tempted Jesus to take the easy way out to gain the world and avoid his own death, which Satan knew was necessary to bring about forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22; 10:1-10; Matthew 4:8-11; Luke 4:13; Matthew 16:21-23).
Like our death, Jesus’ return and the judgment will come on a set day and will not be untimely (neither too soon nor too late; actually, it’ll be none too soon)(Acts 17:30-31; Matthew 24:30-31, 22; 24:31-33, 46; Hebrews 9:27-28).
If you haven’t taken advantage of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection by uniting with him in baptism for the forgiveness of your sins, you should do that while you have the opportunity before it’s too late to avoid the second death (Romans 6:3-10; Acts 2:38-39; 2 Corinthians 6:1-2).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org