2It is better to go to the house of mourningLast week I learned of the death of Dustin Salter, an RUF pastor who ministered at TCU who had a biking accident. That same week, I learned of the death of a teenage girl in a car accident. A blink of an eye and one's life can change drastically. Death is with us all.
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
When Adam took of the fruit, we all died in him (Romans 5:12). And now, we live in our cursed bodies, such a perishable seed. We live in a decaying world with a decaying body, and death will one day take us all. Dust will return to dust.
But not only that, but our days are numbered by the hand of God. James tells us that life is like a mist that appears for a little while and vanishes. Who can know what day is the day that God calls him home? (James 4:13-16) All flesh is grass, here today, gone tomorrow. And all of it in the hand of God (Isaiah 40:7-8).
But a Christian's life isn't one stuck waiting for the last breath to come. A Christian's life isn't one trapped in fear and the trivialness of the physical world (see Ecclesiastes for examples). We can proclaim, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55) With the death and resurrection of Christ, death has also been conquered. No longer a source of fear and dread, but death has become a slave of Christ, a means by which we are able to shed this crippled body and be united with Christ. That's why Paul pronounces, "to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21) Death has become gain!
But if my life isn't lived for Christ, then to die will not be gain. There is no peace for the wicked (Isaiah 48:22), on the last day, it would have been better for me to have never been born. (See also: Hell is not a place where God is not)
In following Jonathan Edwards' footsteps, I thus take his 9th resolution for my own:
Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.Ecclesiastes 12:13-14