Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 2 February 2015
Page 9

Death by Plenty

George JensenDeath at its most basic level is a separation. Biblically we may divide death into two main usages. First, and obviously, there is physical death โ€“ separation of the body from the spirit (James 2:26). Second, there is spiritual death. This condition occurs when our personal sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:2).

There are countless horrific ways by which people have met their end (e.g., death by fire, buried alive, adrift at sea, etc.). While these are repulsive to even ponder, the possibility of eternal death is most disturbing of all. The Bible calls hell “the second death” (Revelation 20:14; 21:8). This place of separation from God was “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41), yet for most of humanity, it will be the soul’s eternal dwelling place (Matthew 7:13-14; 10:28; 25:46).

Satan has many traps in his arsenal. We may be tempted in one of three ways: “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life” (1 John 2:16). One way we may be brought to spiritual death is especially crafty, namely, death by plenty!

The Proverb writer requested: “Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is needful for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is Jehovah? Or lest I be poor, and steal, And use profanely the name of my God” (30:8-9). Note his sentiment about having too much, which might lead him to deny his God. He acknowledged the real possibility of becoming physically comfortable to the point of forgetting his need for God.

After having lived in a third-world country for a few years, I was struck dramatically upon my return by America’s affluence. Even those living here below average income fare far better than many in the rest of the world.

Could it be that thousands are suffering a slow death by plenty? Back in about 750 B.C., the prophet Amos pronounced unto Israel, “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion” (6:1). Read Amos 6:1-6. The people were enjoying luxury and self-gratification while their spiritual condition was in shambles.

The Christians living in Laodicea were saying, “I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17), all the while not realizing they were “miserable and poor and blind and naked [spiritually speaking].” Has your relative ease caused you to largely ignore your spiritual condition?


Giving

George Jensen

Missionaries have worked in Africa long before I set foot on the continent. This true story was recounted to me. There was someone in urgent need of a blood transfusion. While searching for possible donors, an African was asked if he would donate his blood. He responded by saying, “Yes.” Please realize that he was completely unaware of this common procedure. It was only after he had given his gift of blood that the medical personnel came to find out something that amazed and humbled them. Here is what the man was mistakenly thinking when he agreed to give โ€“ I give my blood and then I die! Do you see how his gift of blood differed from all the other donors?

Down through time, many have given sacrificially โ€“ even with their own blood. Firemen, coastguardsmen, soldiers, mothers and the list goes on and on of givers who have given their lives for others. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

However, there was one gift that rivals them all. It is so far beyond ability to adequately express that Paul wrote, “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15). This giving was a gift of blood, but unlike the high priest of the Old Testament system who would yearly offer “blood not his own” (Hebrews 9:25), Jesus gave his own blood for humanity.

We must understand, though, that this gift of blood differs from all other donations. You see, “all [humans] have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Jesus was tempted “in all points like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). His gift was sinless blood. That was the purchase price for the church (Acts 20:28).

[Editor’s Note: Usually when discussing “giving,” money is the topic under consideration. However, this article puts all aspects of giving into proper perspective irrespective of whether discussing material wealth, one’s time, the investment of oneself or anything else. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]


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