The Apple Of God's Eye

March 30, 2009

Does God Allow Mercy Killing?

In recent times, the issue of “mercy killing” or “euthanasia” as it is called in medical circles, has been brought to the forefront of public awareness, largely because of the actions of Jack Kevorkian.

The definition of euthanasia, according to the “Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia,” is defined as “easy or painless death brought on to end a lingering, hopeless, painful disease.”

Now it may seem kind and merciful to relieve a loved one of their suffering from a debilitating illness. However, that decision is not yours to make. Neither is it up to the person who is suffering – life belongs to God. Only the Almighty God – the Giver of life – can decide when life is given and when it is taken (Ps. 36:9, John 6:35). When it is time for a person to die, God will allow it to happen.

Few, it seems though look to the Bible to see what God says. When we do, we find that from the beginning God intended that each human being live out a productive and fulfilling life in preparation for eternal life with Him in His Kingdom.

While God has authorized man’s governments to end the lives of those who have committed murder and the like (see Romans 13), there is no support in Scripture for ending the life of an innocent person simply because of sickness, old age, or disease. In fact, God’s Word shows that the weak are to be cared for, not murdered. See I Thessalonians 5:14.

On the other hand, the idea that heroic measures must be taken to keep a terminally ill person alive as long as possible is not biblical either. There is no sense prolonging a person’s dying. Many righteous people in the Bible knew when they were dying, got their affairs in order, gathered their families to say good-bye, and simply died. It is not wrong to ask God in His mercy to allow a suffering person to peacefully die. But in the end, it is God who decides.

February 28, 2009

Does I Peter 4:6 Say The Gospel Was Preached To The Dead?

The key to understanding I Pet. 4:6 is in knowing the identity of the “dead” spoken of by Peter. At the time Peter wrote this epistle (about A.D. 67 to 69), multiple thousands of Christians had already been living according to the way of life that was preached by the apostles. In the span of time after the apostles’ preaching began, some had lived a Christian life and had died. Many had suffered martyrdom at the hands of unscrupulous religionists or pagan civil leaders.

When did these dead have the Gospel preached to them? Obviously, they had the Gospel preached to them while they were yet alive. The Bible shows that “the dead know not any thing” and that “there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave” (Eccl. 9:5, 10). Clearly, the dead cannot receive any communication whatsoever. Preaching is for the living, not the dead.

There is one other sense in which the Gospel is preached to those who are “dead.” In this case, the term “dead” is used in reference to people who have not repented, and thus have not been forgiven by God. They are still “dead” in their trespasses — they have not yet received God’s Spirit, which is the down payment of eternal life. Jesus mentions such people in Luke 9:60. Paul explains further in Ephesians 2:1 by saying that such people are “dead in trespasses and sins.” Some who exist physically are dead spiritually because they have not yet heeded the Gospel of the Kingdom.

The Church of God has been commissioned to preach the Gospel as a witness to the world (Matt. 24:14). Yet, most people have not yet been called by God and do not heed that message. They remain both in ignorance and in sin. They continue to live and be judged by the standards men devise, rather than “according to God in the spirit.”Each of these individuals will ultimately be given an opportunity to receive salvation.

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