Fear of Death3 min read

“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).

The fear of death is a side effect of one thing and one thing alone—sin. If man had not sinned, there would be no fear of death, because there would be no death. Romans 5:12 teaches us clearly, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”

So, yes, the fear of death is real, because death is real. And we all have to contend with it.

But compounding this fear of death during the COVID-19 pandemic is the additional burden of social distancing. We have been isolated, cut off from those we love, and not able to easily join our church family for services and activities. By the time this article is published, things may or may not have improved. We just don’t know, and we hate that. We hate the unknown, the uncertain, the obscure.

Here is what is NOT uncertain: Jesus Christ, through His death on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead, brings to ruin the one who has the power of death, the devil. But there’s more: And He delivers all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

That is you, dear sister or brother! That is me. Delivered from lifelong slavery! Death no longer can terrify us. We have the blood of Jesuspoured out for us! Satan and death now have no power over the baptized child of God. As Paul Gerhardt says in his great Easter hymn (LSB #467, stanza 6), Christ “rends death’s iron chain; He breaks through sin and pain; He shatters hell’s grim thrall; I follow Him through all!”

Yes, even though we die, yet shall we live.

Yes, our times abound with fears and anxieties. Uncertainties. How long will this virus wreak havoc? How many lives will be lost? As pro-life Christians, we grieve over every human life lost, knowing that life indeed is a precious gift of God. But we also speak the good Word of Jesus Christ—the Gospel treasure—that becauseJesus died for us and rose again, we are not alone in this battle. Christ walks with us all the way. He holds us in His hand, and He works all things for our eternal good.

Please remember, also, dear people: during this pandemic, when other news gets the back burner, the lives of innocent babies continue to be exterminated on a daily basis. Please continue to pray for an end to abortion, and do what you can to speak, write, help, serve, and donate, for the work before us is far from done. Each and every baby is precious to our Lord and should be to us. As we do what we can by social distancing and sanitizing our hands to protect others whose lives are valuable, so we continue to speak and act on behalf of the multitude of unborn children whose lives are equally valuable.

Thanks be to God for the victory we have in Jesus—victory over Satan and death and hell. Christ is risen indeed! May He bless you, protect you, deliver you from your fears, and calm your troubled hearts. In the midst of this cloud of uncertainty regarding this virus, regarding our nation and economy, regarding the future—THIS is certainJesus Christ is risen from the dead! He lives and reigns to all eternity! He is your Savior and your Deliverer. Do not fear. Your future, your inheritance—is certain. In JESUS. Amen.

Photo by DDP on Unsplash.

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About the Author

Rev. Paul Clark has been the pastor of St. Paul, Fowler for over 30 years. He serves as President of Lutherans for Life of Michigan, as well as the Pastoral Counselor. He serves also as the District Life Coordinator for the Michigan District – LCMS. Rev. Clark and his wife Elizabeth have three children through the blessing of adoption.

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Craig Britton - April 27, 2020

Pastor, Thank you for speaking powerfully FOR life. We stand with our great Savior, alive in this world for as long as He says. May He be honored in and through the gift of that life in each of His children. Thanks for the great gospel encouragement.

God’s Peace

Connie Davis - April 27, 2020

Thank you, Pastor, for the words of encouragement.