The title of this article is a very sobering thought. It is something that most people do not want to think about. They would regard it as morbid thinking with no value at all. It is, however, something that should be thought about quite often because it is an ever-present reality and is for us the end of the road. The purpose of my writing this article is that we properly prepare ourselves for the day of our death. We have to keep the casket in our mind continually so that we do not live like the fool who does not consider the end of his days. We must ever be prepared to meet our Maker. We should live each day as if it were the last day that we have to live because it could very well be. What a difference that would make in the way we live. It was in fun that I told my employer a while ago that I can do what I want to do. He said, “Oh, no you can’t. You have to pay taxes and die.” I continue to think about the death aspect and realize how important it is to have peace with our Maker. We have to have a personal knowledge that all of our sins have been taken care of. We have to make our calling and election sure as I Peter 1:10 directs us to do. The idea is not that we make our calling and election sure with God because He is the one who elected us, but rather that we make it sure with ourselves and thereby not doubt it. We do this by constantly examining ourselves and by living a godly life. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. We have to especially see to it that all animosity which we have toward fellow church members is removed. If it isn’t, the Lord will continue to remind us that he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (I John 4:20).
I remember reading a sign alongside the highway when I was yet a teenager which asked this question, “Where will you spend eternity?” It struck me even at that time that this was a question of extreme importance. I still feel that way today and I want all of our young people to seriously consider that question. What is time as compared to eternity? Our days are but a span, a breath, a sigh and we meet our Creator. We will then have to give an account as to how we conducted ourselves. That time might come a lot sooner than what we think. We are called to live a sober life and shun the company of those who would experiment with drugs or those who delight in drunken parties. One way that the Lord deals with these sins is by using what we call car accidents. There are no accidents with the Lord you must understand, but it rather clearly shows that the Lord is very angry with these sins and is taking action as a direct result. Are you prepared to meet Him while living in this sin? The Bible condemns drunkenness and states I Cor. 6:10 that the drunkard shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. Living sober lives also means that we refrain from listening to the rock and roll songs of the devil which are geared toward the destruction of the youth through fornication. The fornicators also shall have no part in the Kingdom of God as is evident from I Cor. 6:9. We must rather fill our minds with the songs of Zion which bring us very close to the Lord. There are no other songs which can possibly bring us as much joy that it is impossible not to sing these songs with great enthusiasm for they are the very heartbeat of the child of God. What a beautiful way to shout forth the praises of the Lord. It is in this way among others that you prepare yourselves for the casket. When I say that we have to prepare ourselves for the casket I mean that we have to prepare ourselves for the Lord.
We are called to redeem the time because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:16) We have to regard the creature time as a great gift from God and are to use it by devoting our lives to His service. It is important that we be men and women characterized by prayer. It is through prayer that the Lord will grant His grace and Holy Spirit to those who sincerely ask this of Him. It is through prayer that we can bring our burdens unto the Lord and ask for strength to fight the battle of faith and to resist the temptations of our mighty three-fold enemy – the devil, the world, and our own flesh. It is important that we be scholars of the Word of God and that we study it faithfully, thereby learning what the will of the Lord is.
I also would like to stress the importance of attending funerals of fellow church members. It is all too often that this is neglected in favor of making a few extra dollars, it is through our attendance that we show respect for the deceased and love for the relatives of the deceased. It is a very painful experience to bring a loved one to the grave. It is painful to have the earthly ties severed. It is through our attendance at funerals that we are made more acutely aware of our own end as we see the casket. It is for this reason that especially our young people should attend the funeral. We can regard the casket as the gate whereby our bodies enter either into heaven or into hell.
I want to make plain that when I speak of our bodies being in the casket I do not mean that the person who formerly existed in that body is still in that body and has to wait for the resurrection before he meets the Lord. This is not true because the soul of that person is removed immediately from that body at the time of death and is conscious before the Lord. We are to regard the body in the casket as a seed that is sown and that body has to wait in the casket until the last day before it is resurrected and reunited with the soul. I believe that we show dishonor for the body when we choose cremation instead of a proper burial. Our attention should be drawn to the fact as to who gets us out of the casket. There is only one who has this power and that is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Who conquered the grave by His glorious resurrection. He is the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in Him shall never perish.
How painful it is then to hear this precious name taken in vain. The only name whereby we can be saved and delivered from the grave. We can be thankful that we don’t have to grieve as those who have no hope. It is through our steadfast hope and trust in our Saviour that we can approach the casket with confidence. I have as an elder visited with elderly saints of our congregation who expressed a strong desire to die and be with the Lord. These are saints who were prepared to enter the casket. I rejoice with them.
In conclusion, I would like to have you take note of the fact that as we travel our earthly pilgrimage here below, each step that we take is a step closer to the casket. You cannot shove that reality aside. Are you preparing yourself for the casket?