6. Why do believers have to die?

Believers do not have to die, but do die to have communion with Christ’s sufferings, to experience Christ’s grace, to be made like Christ’s image, to witness for Christ’s glory, and to bring them into Christ’s presence.

     

Believers do not have to die but do die to have communion with Christ’s sufferings…

Actually believers do not have to die (remember Moses, Elijah, and also think of the believers who will be alive at Christ’s coming). Christ took the full penalty of their death upon him. However, Christ has seen it fit and wise to allow most believers to pass through death because of the spiritual benefits involved. He has chosen to delay the application of all the benefits of our salvation he earned for us.  The Christian’s death may look exactly like that of the non-Christian but is essentially different.  Our experience of death completes our union with Christ (Phil. 3:10).  Through death we imitate Christ in what he did and so experience closer communion with Him.

…to experience Christ’s grace…

Bodily death is still a painful evil to the believer. He will fear it and feel it. As the last moments approach, there is often great physical pain, spiritual fear, and emotional distress at seeing loved ones’ weeping, etc. At such times the believer can often experience tremendous help from Christ. His grace is found to be more than sufficient to help everyone through it.

…to be made like Christ’s image…

One of the blessings of death is the rapid ripening of the believer’s character and the acceleration of his sanctification. The outer person is growing weaker, but the inner grows stronger and stronger. Though death can take an ugly toll on the body of a believer, yet his soul is being beautified.

…to witness for Christ’s glory…

Death, in many ways, is the supreme test of faith. The victory of faith is seen by the world and by other believers. This brings great glory to Christ, especially if the believer is able to speak of and commend Christ in these last moments (Phil. 1:20).  The dying witness of Christians is celebrated in heaven (Rev. 12:11).

…to bring them into God’s presence.

Death hastens us into the presence of God and our coronation as His precious people. It is a temporary separation from our bodies, but it unites us to Christ in a new and wonderful way (Rom. 8:38-39).