I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.
In my years as a pastor, I’ve conducted countless funeral services. I remember one in particular, though, for the lesson that it taught me.
When I arrived at the funeral home, I was asked to wait in a side room. Being an inquisitive soul, I looked around and realized that I was sitting beside miniature coffins—models with their ends sawn off so that you could see what the inside of each coffin looked like.
As I was sitting there, I began to think of what it would be like not just to look inside but to be inside. I became greatly disturbed. I said to myself, “I am a Christian. I believe in the resurrection of the body. I believe that I will die and go to heaven.” And yet, I still looked at the coffin and thought to myself, “I don’t want to go in one of these things!”
Then the thought came to me: “What comes to the unbeliever’s mind when he or she thinks of death and dying?”
In the late 1960s, the United Kingdom introduced grids painted on the roads at particularly busy intersections, called box junctions, accompanied by signs that read, “Do not enter the box unless your exit is clear.” The purpose of these grids and signs was to help aid traffic flow. But that day in the funeral home, what entered my mind was how apt that sign’s warning is when we consider that we will all be dead and lie in a coffin. Though my body will one day be in a box, my soul will have departed—and my exit must then be clear.
Everybody knows that death is coming. The statistics are clear: one out of one dies. The affairs of life lead inescapably toward the end. Yet God the Son, who existed “before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20) has come into time in order that we may know a Savior, a Friend, and a Lord and so that we might be prepared for—and even long for!—all that eternity will bring.
You may be one of many who are prepared for just about everything that might possibly happen—except for your exit from the box. But that exit is the one thing for which you must be prepared. You will stand before God. You will give an account for your life. But the message of the gospel is that you do not need to fear that day, provided that you are trusting in Christ to bring you through. And if you are, then you can look at a coffin and speak to your fears, for though your earthly flesh may end up in one, your soul will not; and you will enjoy a resurrection body that never sees the inside of a wooden box. “Do not enter the box unless your exit is clear”—but, gloriously, your route through is signposted with the blood of Christ and your heavenly destination awaits. Have no fear.
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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.