Life is God’s Gift
God has been offering life from the beginning. He “made the world and everything in it” and “gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24-25). He is the living God, the great I AM, with life in Himself (John 5:26), and He has the inherent power to give and take life (cf. Deut 32:39). Life is a gift of God to be cherished.
Before entering the Promised Land, Moses tried to get the people to understand that life and death were before them. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it” (Deut 30:15-16).
Then Moses said, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days…” (Deut 30:19-20).
Choose life. That was the message God was sending through Moses. In truth, that is the same message that God sent through Christ and continues into the present. God is offering life, and we choose to accept or reject that offer.
Christians and Life
All life is precious, including that of the elderly, the ill, and the unborn. We are not at liberty to crook our fingers at one group and think they are less valuable in terms of life. We need to fight for life as a God-given value in itself because life is God’s gift. It belongs to Him.
Life here and now points us to eternal life, which, for Christians, actually begins now. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36). We strive to teach others so that they, too, might believe and have life in His name (John 20:30-31). A life that begins now but does not lead to eternal life will be a tragic loss in the end. We do not want any to die before they are ready to be in the presence of God or stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10).
While we all recognize that life here and now is temporary and we look to the eternal, our view of life here says something about the way we view life as a whole. We do not wish for death in any way, even though “while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor 5:4). Death is called an enemy that will be destroyed, and the resurrection of Jesus is the guarantee of this (1 Cor 15).
People are all over the spectrum on what they think about it current problems. What we all ought to unite on is the need to protect life. I don’t mean just trying to protect a “way of life” as if not being able to live like kings is the end of life (see Paul’s attitude in 1 Tim 6:6-8 and Phil 4:11-13). Protecting life itself is important because life—all life—is a gift of God that is not to be taken for granted. We cannot afford to think, “oh well, we are just going to die anyway so we shouldn’t try to save lives.” No, we strive to save lives because we are going to die and face the Giver of life. What happens with us at that point will be determined by what we did with the life we have been given now. If we do not respect life now, how shall we expect or appreciate eternal life?
Life and death are in the hands of God. As far as we are concerned, we must honor life to the best of our abilities. When death comes, and it will, then we want to be ready to stand in God’s presence and be with our Lord in the resurrection (1 Thess 4:14). How will we have lived in preparation for that? How will we have pointed others to it?
Christians live between a rock and hard place in many ways. Like Paul, we should see ourselves as God’s servants for others who, as long as we are given life here, will seek to glorify Him (Phil 1:21-24). When death comes, we will be ready for life with Him then because we have respected life with Him now. Choose life. Choose God. There is no other path to eternal life.