Unafraid of Death
Certainly, if the dead don’t come back to life, then Christ
hasn’t come back to life either. If Christ hasn’t come back to
life, your faith is worthless and sin still has you in its power.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:16-17
IT HAS WISELY BEEN SAID, “He who fears death is a fool, for by doing this he loses his own life.” This would be a good saying if anyone could do it. Everyone knows that people won’t get anywhere by fearing death. They will only ruin their lives and never be happy. We see this with people who are in deep sadness. They wouldn’t be comforted or feel joyful even if you wrapped them with golden robes, filled them with the best food and drink, and offered them all kinds of entertainment, even music on stringed instruments. They don’t feel alive. They walk around with morbid thoughts of death, and they are practically dead already. So people tell us that the best thing to do is to throw off this fear, force it out of our minds, and say to ourselves, “Why should we worry? When we are dead, we are dead.” Just as the Corinthians said, “Let’s eat and drink because tomorrow we’re going to die” (1 Corinthians 15:32). However this is a shortcut because it pretends God’s wrath, hell, and damnation don’t even exist.
But Christians can’t do that. They can’t just toss this fear out of a heart that wants to believe. In fact, they only feel this fear even more as their faith struggles to grow. We should comfort them by saying, “Dear friend, if you are continually distressed by living, if you feel poor and miserable, then take care and understand this is happening because you are a Christian. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be tormented by this fear of death and hell. But you must guard yourself against this fear and hold firmly to the fact that your Christ has risen from the dead.” (Martin Luther, Faith Alone-365 Devotional Readings, February 27)