The Blue Screen of Death. It will happen to you…unless you’re a Pharisaical Mac User. I encountered the BSoD a few months back. I incidentally downloaded a virus, but not just any virus. No, I let a Trojan, password stealing, virus into my operating system. At first, my computer started to do things I didn’t want it to do. Then it wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. Finally, the worm took over the entire system and I was left with the BSoD! Fortunately, I was able to resurrect it, but it still walks with a slight limp.
Computer viruses have become a part of our cultural landscape. We understand the damage they can cause and we talk about them like they are living entities. Recently, I was posed with the question, “What happens when we die”? And, as a pastor, it is not the first time hearing some rendition of this question…death, salvation, heaven & hell, etc. People come to a place in their lives when they begin to ask what the Bible teaches about these things.
In the past, preachers have used the cultural context of the American judicial system to explain it. I think this concept probably worked a few generations ago. People viewed God as a Judge. And, to be fair, the Bible does identify God as a judge. But it also tells us “God is Love”.
So, when posed with the question “what happens when we die”, I thought the idea of a computer virus is probably a better cultural reference for us today. We all carry around a virus in our OS and the Bible calls it sin. We struggle during our life time and find that we “do what we don’t want to do, and we don’t do what we want to do”. There seems to be a war within us; sin wrestling for total occupancy of our soul.
When our physical body dies, we are stripped of our flesh and we are left in the purity of our soul. But our soul is corrupted by a virus called sin. Sin then consumes us and we experience an excruciating “second death”; the death of our soul. The Gospel writers articulated this truth as “an eternal hell where there is biting, devouring, and gnashing of teeth”. Jesus said that no one was exempt. We have all been infected with this virus. We are all condemned to experience not just one (physical) death, but a second death of the soul (John 3).
Yet, God is Love! And God saw this virus had corrupted His creation that was good. All of creation was groaning out and asking for a….Microsoft scrubbing tool (okay maybe not really). But it is true that all of creation was crying out. And God, in His love, put on flesh to experience the first and second death Himself. Jesus reached out to all of us and offered to remove the virus. He says, ” Come, follow Me, and I will remove the virus. You will be blessed and I will make you a blessing. Then the second death will be no more. Instead, there will be a resurrection”.
So what happens when you die? You will experience a second, excruciating death of your soul. But God has made a way for you to avoid this second, inevitable death. Let Jesus remove it! It’s so simple. The second death will be no more. There will be no more sorrow, pain, or tears. And you will become the soul God intended you to be as you live in His presence for all eternity.
Let’s keeping winning in 2014!