New Zealand, like most Western counties, celebrates death. Whether it is the mind blowing statistics of the number of children murdered in their mother’s wombs, or the huge box office ticket sales that the next mass killing film will generate, death seems to have no effect on us. At least that’s what many want to pretend.
Yet, it does. It is unavoidable. Death is the levelling ground for all people. It matters not if you are rich, poor, male, female, Caucasian, or other you will die.
There is a word in Greek, euthanatos which means, literally: easy death, or “to die well.” From this word has come an all too common term in our society which celebrates death, “euthanasia.”
You mean euthanasia basically means “to die well?” Yep, basically. Except that the word has taken on a more sinister meaning due to its common usage. It now means, “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.”
In New Zealand there is a bill before Parliament, “End of Life Choice Bill” submitted by Maryan Street and supported by Prime Minister John Key and Rodney Hide. This bill would legalize the practice of euthanasia in this country.
What should Christians think about the practice of Euthanasia?
- Genesis 9:5-7 – Human life is to be valued as having inherent dignity and worth as all people are created in the image of God.
- Exodus 20:13 – God’s people are not to indiscriminately take the life of others.
- Psalm 139:16 – It is God who determines the length of our days.
Christians should stand against this culture of death. We should desire to see all people regardless of their age or physical limitations cared for with love and compassion as fellow image bearers of God, until the Lord in His infinite wisdom and sovereign care ends their life on this earth.
But what about the concept of dying well?
Here’s the thing. Everyone I minister to, including myself and my own family, barring the return of Christ is going to die. I want them to live well, to live lives glorifying to God. Yet, more than this, I want them to be prepared to die well.
In order for death to loose its sting (Hosea 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55) people need to be prepared to die well.
Euthanasia is not helping people to die well. This is one of the greatest missuses of language I can imagine.
Preparing people to die well, is done by calling all men, women, and children everywhere to repent of their sins and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who conquered death; and Who lives, so that though they may die, they may live again.
John Newton once said, “It is the duty of a minister of the gospel to prepare his people to die well.”
Let us stand against this culture of death, by pointing people to a living Saviour, Who can save them from their sins and remove the sting of death!
C.H. Spurgeon: “O child of God, death hath lost its sting, because the devil’s power over it is destroyed. Then cease to fear dying. Ask grace from God the Holy Ghost, that by an intimate knowledge and a firm belief of thy Redeemer’s death, thou mayst be strengthened for that dread hour. Living near the cross of Calvary thou mayst think of death with pleasure, and welcome it when it comes with intense delight. It is sweet to die in the Lord: it is a covenant-blessing to sleep in Jesus. Death is no longer banishment, it is a return from exile, a going home to the many mansions where the loved ones already dwell. The distance between glorified spirits in heaven and militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not so. We are not far from home–a moment will bring us there. The sail is spread; the soul is launched up on the deep. How long will be its voyage? How many wearying winds must beat upon the sail ere it shall be reefed in the port of peace? How long shall that soul be tossed upon the waves before it comes to that sea which knows no storm? Listen to the answer, “absent from the body, present with the Lord.” Yon ship has just departed, but it is already at its have. It did but spread its sail and it was there. Like that ship of old, upon the Lake of Galilee, a storm had tossed it, but Jesus said, “Peace, be still,” and immediately it came to land. Think not that a long period intervenes between the instant of death and the eternity of glory. When the eyes close on earth they open in heaven. The horses of fire are not an instant on the road. Then, O child of God, what is there for thee to fear in death, seeing that through the death of thy Lord its curse and sting are destroyed? and now it is but a Jacob’s ladder whose foot is in the dark grave, but its top reaches to glory everlasting.”