Most people say that the biblical definition of death is separation. Hebrews says that Jesus would “… free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” If we are held in slavery by our fear of death, what does that mean? What does that look like? Is it separation? Separation from what or whom?
7 thoughts on “Fear of Death”
I believe fear is slavery because fear is limiting.. I believe fear of death is separation from freedom.
I wonder if it means that we are enslaved by our fear to give all because we are afraid of angering man or stepping over a line in the spiritual that brings fierce retaliation from our enemy. Separated from God because we do not reside in perfect love, who h casts out fear.
That one is tough Todd. I might have to research it a bit. Death is what occurred after Adam and Eve had sinned against God. Gods prefect plan for man kind was to never die. God had to seperate sin or sinner from his holiness. So we became seperated from Him because of sin and only death would end the physical seperation, but the unfaithful would have to be seperated from God forever in hell after they died the physical death. Up until Jesus came to be with us and died for our sins the world was seperated from God, and only could Gods chosen ones had any communication with Him. So Jesus had openned up the void in mans life by what he did for the forgiveness of sins and by now being with us and in us we are free from seperation and the fear of death. This should be it. But don’t take my word for it.
I know some people who are afraid of death because they fear being separated from God by something they have done wrong which may be unconfessed and unforgiven when they die. They claim to be Christians, but live their entire lives striving to live up to a moral standard set by their churches or belief systems in order to secure a place in heaven. They miss out on the freedom and joy of living in grace because they are enslaved by the ritual and rigidity of religion. For them, death is a fearful thing because they believe they face the wrath of God.
For the one who has complete confidence in Jesus’ work on our behalf to break the curse of sin, death is just a shadow without teeth and a temporary separation from loved ones here.
Separation from love would be the biggest fear for many people, but even that concept is flawed because perfect love is found in God’s presence, not here in our hit and miss attempts at loving, and in our inability to truly live as people loved by God.
Perhaps fear of death is an indicator of our inability to trust God and our lack of understanding of his character. We’re still buying into the lies that He is holding out on us, that He can’t be trusted, and that we have to take matters into our own hands.
Here’s some insight from Whole Bible Commentary Critical and Explanatory by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
15. fear of death–even before they had experienced its actual power.
all their lifetime–Such a life can hardly be called life.
subject to bondage–literally, “subjects of bondage”; not merely liable to it, but enthralled in it (compare Romans 8:15 , Galatians 5:1 ). Contrast with this bondage, the glory of the “sons” ( Hebrews 2:10 ). “Bondage” is defined by Aristotle, “The living not as one chooses”; “liberty,” “the living as one chooses.” Christ by delivering us from the curse of God against our sin, has taken from death all that made it formidable. Death, viewed apart from Christ, can only fill with horror, if the sinner dares to think.
And from John Calvin:
” . . .extreme fear is owing to ignorance as to the grace of Christ, so it is a certain evidence of unbelief.”
I’m going to give this a try again tonight. This doesn’t exactly respond to the question posed, but it is what came to mind when I read the blog. And since I’ve yet to annoy the kind host with my errant habits to the point that he bans me, I’ll go ahead and post it anyway.
may sound backwards, but I believe people often fear life more than
death. People die inch by painful inch every time they succumb to the
expectations of others rather than live in the freedom of Christ.
People are often so afraid of what others think of them that they are
paralyzed, or enslaved. Thus, they are afraid to live, and they would
often prefer to die rather than garner the ongoing disapproval of those
First I’d like to say that this is my first time commenting on your blog. I’d also like to say that I love your song God With Us. I bought it for my mp3 player. I may be buying more of your songs. You have been gifted with a strong and powerful singing voice and musical talents from God! I’ve listened to most of your songs, interviews and commentary on youtube and I think I’m beginnning to know where you’re coming from.
Faith is a journey of discovery, which can last a lifetime. There’s just so much to learn and know! I’m glad your searching, studying and striving to know, love and serve Him, as I am also.
To your probing question, I believe death is a separation of our soul from our physical bodies. It is with our soul that Jesus offered us eternal life. Yes, we will also be physically separated from our living loved ones when we die. Maybe that’s why some people fear death, or they aren’t quite sure of that promise of the afterlife, or if so, where they’ll end up (heaven or hell). Then there are the atheists who think when we die, that’s it. They think this earthly world is all there is. They could be enslaved with loving themselves, and being fearful of losing their earthly possessions when they die. Maybe that’s what St. Paul was trying to say to the Hebrews. But there are so many different ways people tend to interpret Scripture. As many ministers and theologians there are, there could be just as many theories and interpretations. It can be a free for all at times! That’s why I believe Jesus set up a system with His apostles in order to leave us with a succession of ordained men who are continually inspired by His Holy Spirit, who have the authority to properly interpret His Word. Does that sound familiar? Does that give you a hint as to what Christian denomination I am?
But I digress! The bottom line is, people can be enslaved by having fear of that separation from loved ones, or the fear of the unknown. By Jesus teaching that His Father has prepared many rooms for us in heaven, and making that saving grace available to us by His dying on the cross, IF we repent, and follow Him and His teachings, then it would free us from the fear of death.
Just a couple of thoughts (out of many possible thoughts on the subject).
If a person has nothing to lose, you cannot take anything away from him. If a person does not fear death, then death has no power. Some people are so afraid of death that it inhibits their ability to truly live, because they have to be careful of everything they do lest they make a mistake and die. (Engineers call this paralysis by analysis).
Someone who believes he has eternal life which cannot be taken away, has nothing to lose in dying and therefore death has no power, so he is free to truly live.
In the cultural context, the Greek word for death here refers to the Underworld, and the Greek concept of the Underworld in the after-life is the stuff of nightmares. No one in his right mind would want to die if that is what awaited. But Jesus showed us that Heaven is the ‘afterlife’ for those who follow Him. The only ones who need fear death are those who reject Him. We have to think eternally, not carnally. This human, physical life is just one phase of our journey. It is like a vapor in the span of eternity, and while we may want to make the most of it, (I know I do), the fear of letting it go can paralyze or enslave us to the carnal, and blur our vision of the eternal.
Jesus came to give us a taste of eternity so we would no longer fear death once we embrace Him as Savior and Lord. Look at the lives of the first disciples. Because they were not afraid to die, they were bold and powerful in their living, and lives were being transformed by Jesus through their witness continually.