God’s main purpose for our existence is to Glorify Jesus Christ. God gave us life so that with our bodies and minds and hearts we might draw attention to Jesus and show His greatness and His goodness towards mankind.
That is why Paul said,
..according to my earnest expectation and hope that…Christ shall be magnified in my body with all boldness, whether it is by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:20-21)
This purpose for our existence does not change at death. For the Christian, everlasting life has already begun and will not be interrupted by death or judgement.
Jesus taught this when he said,
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life (John 5:24).
Already, by faith in Christ, our judgement is past and our death is past. Death is no longer judgement for those who are in Christ.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:56).
The sting of death is gone and what we await is our full and final transformation. As one preacher has said,
“Death is now a transition from life to better life, from faith to seeing, from groaning to glory, from good fellowship with Jesus to far better fellowship with Jesus, from mixtures of pain and pleasure to all pleasure, from struggles with sin to perfect affections for Jesus. We have passed from death to life.”
The way we show Jesus to be great in our life is to treasure the hope He has given us now, even as we die. That is, we glorify Jesus now by living a life that shows we hope more in what lies ahead, than what lies behind.
For the Christian man or woman, death is a time for paying tribute to, or glorifying, God. God appoints it for this purpose in His saints.
Take the death of Peter. Jesus spoke to him about his death,
“When you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18)
John interpreted these words for us in his gospel,
This [Jesus] said to show by what kind of death [Peter] was to glorify God.” (John 21:19)
We all have our appointed time and way of dying. This is the last testimony on earth we will give in showing the value we place in Jesus for our lives.
Our death is the last time on earth for glorifying God. It happens by counting everything on earth as loss (Philippians 3:8) and counting the sight of Christ in heaven as gain.
There are untold tears when someone we love dies. That’s okay. It testifies to the value we place on the gift of life. But even here, through all the tears, there is a way to magnify Christ.
Job showed us how. When the news came that all ten of his children were dead, we read,
Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord’” (Job 1:20-21)
He wept and he worshipped.