Overcoming the Ultimate Fear [Part 2]

Are you ready for some good news?

God wants you to have complete assurance of heaven in Christ!

Today’s Text: “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, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Hebrews 2:14–15, ESV)

Years ago, Bennett and I were at the Ringling Brothers circus when the ringmaster announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, turn your attention to the third ring where the amazing Torres family will defy gravity with their high speed motorcycles in the Globe of Death.”

It was a steel, caged globe into which seven motorcycles raced around, sometimes upside down at 60 mph without hitting each other. Then, to make the daredevil stunt more electrifying, the ringmaster announced: “And now, a woman will enter the Globe of Death as the motorcycles swirl all around her at death defying speeds. And,” the circus announcer highlighted, “she enters the Globe of Death with no protection whatsoever.”

The ringmaster kept emphasizing that she would be wearing no helmet, no protective gear of any kind. The third time that the announcer declared, “Wearing no protective gear at all,” five-year-old Bennett leaned over and asked me, “Why?”

It didn’t seem like the right time to explain to my little boy that people sometimes have a sick desire to watch someone else be placed in possible peril. So I just mumbled something like, “I guess it will make her seem more brave. Makes it more exciting I suppose.”

The real reason that people want to see a daredevil at work is deeper than the twisted allure of seeing a possible accident. I think that the real reason we want to see someone defy death is just that – we want to see someone defy death! The writer of Hebrews calls the fear of death the enslaver of all humanity until Christ. John Donne’s famous sonnet was penned to taunt mortality: “Death be not proud….”

We have a sense that death has been the historical enemy of humanity – the worst consequence of human sin. The idea of the extinguishing of life with no certainty of what comes next is the greatest anxiety in the world. Most people develop elaborate ways of avoiding the topic. We’ll do almost anything to pretend like we’re not going to all die.

But the Christian’s life is utterly different. We are conscious of death (conscious, but not obsessed), but unafraid, because the entirety of the Gospel points to the assurance of life everlasting and the Holy Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. When you’re in Christ, death loses its sting. And that’s the Gospel!

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