FAITH AT THE END OF LIFE
If your faith doesn’t work at the end of your life, it doesn’t work, period. If you can’t die in faith, you have not lived in faith. If our faith doesn’t hold up under the weight of a sudden or impending death, it’s not what we were promised.
Last week I wrote about my objections to MAiD, defined by the government of Canada as “medical assistance in dying is a process that allows someone who is found eligible to be able to receive assistance from a medical practitioner in ending their life.”
My objections are summarized in the following short statements:
- MAiD DIMINISHES our humanity by misrepresenting the truth about human suffering and compassion.
- MAiD REDUCES LIFE to a medical incident that needs to be erased.
- MAiD EXPANDS the power of the state and changes their fundamental reason for governing.
- MAiD WEAKENS our trust in the medical community.
- MAiD IGNORES the CONFLICTING data that demands reconsideration of the law, not the least of which is the many who struggle with disadvantages that will put them at greater risk.
- MAiD DISMISSES and DISRESPECTS those whose faith teaches them NOT to die by lethal injection.
This week, I want to build the Scriptural rationale for our belief in the sanctity of life. The sanctity of life is defined in the following way: “The sanctity of life views each person as having incalculable worth and inherent dignity because he or she is made in the image of God, redeemed by Christ, and called to share fully in the life of the triune God. The inherent dignity of human life entitles each person to the same basic right to life, regardless of age or condition. The value and dignity of human life are guaranteed because they result from God’s creating and sustaining us through love, not because of our personal achievements or usefulness to others.”
I was simply overwhelmed as I prepared for this week’s sermon by the volume of information in the Bible directly or indirectly related to the topic of persevering and protecting life at all stages. There is just too much material to give in one session. I have summarized the Biblical content in the following four major observations about the sanctity of life:
- God’s authority and sovereignty are paramount for us. He is the source of our origin and identity. What a person believes about euthanasia is determined by his view of the sanctity of human life, and the sanctity of life is profoundly rooted in the teachings of the Bible. We are made by God for God, and we have no right to determine our own identity or destiny. It’s as simple as a statement from Solomon in Ecclesiastes 8:8: “No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death.”
- Victory over death is our destiny. Death is an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26) that has been defeated. Hebrews 2.14 tells us, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.”
- Our ministry to the sick and dying (we have received a stewardship from God TO CARE FOR THE SICK AND DYING). Jesus Himself set the stage for the ministry of mercy and care for the sick and dying when He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:20).
When Joni Eareckson Tada realized that she would be spending the rest of her life as a quadriplegic, she asked in despair, “Why can’t they just let me die?” When her friend Diana, trying to provide comfort, said to her, “The past is dead, Joni; you’re alive,” Joni responded, “Am I? This isn’t living.” But through God’s grace, Joni’s despair gave way to her firm conviction that even her accident was within God’s plan for her life. Now she shares with the world her firm conviction that “suffering gets us ready for heaven.”
Church family, I can’t wait to see you Sunday morning at one of our two identical services as we dive deeper into the reasons for rejecting MAiD.
Stay safe and strong in faith,