Monday, December 14, 2015

Advent Day 14: Jesus Came to Free Us from Fear of Death

[14] Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, [15] and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 

(Hebrews 2:13-15 ESV)

Fear can makes us slaves.  When we're afraid of something we limit what we do to avoid the thing we fear.  If you're afraid of the water, you never learn to swim and you stay away from the ocean.  If you're afraid of crowds, you stay away from social gatherings.  If you're afraid of spiders and insects, you may never go camping.  All of these fears create virtual walls in our life that keep us from these experiences.

In the same way, the author of Hebrews tells us that we were held in lifelong slavery by fear of death. Fearing death make us slaves because it keeps us from living life to the fullest in obedience to Christ. When all death holds for us is eternal condemnation, then we have every reason to be terrified of breathing our last. Satan, the accuser of the saints, loves to remind us of what we deserve.  He wants us to be terrified of what waits for us in eternity.  

Jesus, however, took on flesh and blood so that through death he could destroy the one who had the power of death, the Devil.  Without flesh and blood, Jesus could never die.  He is eternal. But, by taking on mortal flesh he allowed his body to be killed. Through his substitutionary death on the cross he destroyed the Devil, achieved our redemption, and freed us to fear death no longer.

This kind of freedom allows you to live for the glory of Christ, even if it may cost you your life. Hebrews 13:5-6 says, "5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

Of course, there's an answer to that question.  Man can kill us.  But, the author of Hebrews knows that we need not fear death.  Man cannot take eternity with Christ away from us.  That's why Paul was able to say, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21)

Jesus came as a baby, sharing in flesh and blood, to free us from fear of death. Therefore, we are no longer slaves of fear, but free to live in obedience to Christ,  

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