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Gospel Gazette Online
Vol.  10  No. 12 December 2008  Page 13                    powered by FreeFind

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Dead or Alive?

By Robert Johnson

Robert JohnsonYou can file this one under bizarre. Reuters News Service reports Austrian authorities have discovered the body of a man who apparently died at home in bed 5 years ago. The corpse of Franz Riedl, thought to have been in his late 80's when he died, went undetected for so long because his rent had been paid by automatic order from the bank account in which he had received his pension.

Authorities, after getting a court order to enter the apartment, said his body appeared to have “mummified” and was well preserved. Neighbors said there was no strange smell coming from his apartment. One individual had noted that mail had always piled up outside his home, so no one thought anything about it. Most believed he had gone to an old person’s home. Police were not certain exactly when the man had died, but they found schilling notes in the apartment, the currency used by Austria before the introduction of the euro in 2002.

What does this have to do with anything? How many people do you meet, do you know personally, who are dead? Obviously, not like this man in Austria, but dead spiritually, and no one knows, no one seems to care. Paul reminds us, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), but he means more than just physical death. He wrote to Timothy, “But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:6). While it’s tragic this one left this existence with no one who seemed to care, a far greater tragedy is to live each day, dead spiritually, outside the grace of God, without hope for eternity.

What is the solution? The free gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23), freely offered to those who come in faith and obey His will. The blood of Christ can forgive one and cleanse sin, offering eternal life. Through Christ “we know that we have passed out of death into life” (1 John 3:14). The Gospel is God’s power of salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). Will you share that message with those who are dead in their sins? Will you start now, while there is still time?

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