Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

The End or the Beginning?

Meditation for the week of August 1, 2010

Job 14:10 But man dies and is laid away; Indeed he breathes his last And where is he?

Recently we buried another close friend.  She had been asked by a preacher friend many years ago, “Where will you be in 100 years?”  This caused her to research the issues of sin and judgment as well as the issues of heaven and hell.  She found out a good person cannot go to heaven because none of us are good (Romans 3:10).  She also found out that Christ died for sinners so that we would not have to be condemned eternally (Romans 5:8).  That truth gave her peace about her relationship with God for eternity.  When she came down with cancer, she fought to live with all of her might, but she made it clear that she was ready to die.  And die she did.

At her funeral we were told that she was rejoicing with her Savior in heaven.  We were told that even though we were putting her body in the grave, that the real person was already “with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).  We were told that some day her body would be raised from the dead and would be reunited with the real person that had recently left her body and that she would serve and praise the the Lord in a new body forever.  I have preached all of these truths at the funerals of people who have obviously “believed in or on” the Lord Jesus for salvation.  But I never go to a funeral but what the “fiery dart of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16) is thrown at me, and I wonder if I have preached the truth.  Is this just the beginning for the person that died or is it the end and is there nothing beyond the grave?

I know that a preacher is not supposed to admit that things like that go through his mind because we preach that when we are saved we should KNOW we are saved based on God’s promises (1 John 5:13).  So how could we have faith and wonder if we are right at the same time?  I look at these times as times to have my faith strengthened and confirmed as I go through the following thought process:

Can I prove scientifically that what I believe is true?  No.  I can prove that some things in the Bible are provable by science but science often changes its mind about things so I don’t get my assurance from so-called scientific proofs.

Is there any good reason not to believe what the Bible says?  No!  However,  there might be if there were other authoritative writings with better messages.  These writings would have to claim to be inspired by God. These writings would have to have the kinds of evidence that the Bible has to authenticate their claims of inspiration.  The Bible has the children of Israel as an object lesson showing us how God deals with sin and and how He saves.  The Bible has the Lord fulfilling many prophecies written many years before He came. The Bible claims that the Lord was raised from the dead and has over 500 witnesses to that fact.  These things give us reason to believe that He is the Messiah and our Savior.  I know of no other book or prophet or system of religion that has such evidence. 

Are there any good reasons to believe what the Bible says?  Yes!  We have already given some of those reasons.  The message of the Bible gives us a reason for living, comfort in dying and hope for the future.  If people die without eternal life then this present life is certainly hopeless and futile. 

Another reason that I believe the Bible and its message of hope and salvation is because I have seen the Lord work miracles in my own  life and the life of my family.  The events associated with our going into the Lord’s work full-time as preachers of the Gospel depending on the Lord alone for financial support and then being preserved in that work cannot be recounted here, but we have seen God do miraculous things.  These experiences should be written in a book for our children to remind them and others that God is real.  God’s promises are yea and amen, and a life of faith is an adventure with God.

Ultimately, we have to believe God in order to have our doubts quenched.  And ultimately, I believe God because I want to and because I think believing in Him makes sense.  I can’t quite understand what there is to gain by not believing the God of the Bible.

So once again, I have come to the conclusion that my friend’s death was the beginning and not the end.

Bruce Collins

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