Signs for a Peaceful Exit

Herbert Lockyer tells about finding an ancient work called The Book of the Craft of Dying. The unknown writer of this early treatise discussed five principal temptations confronting the believer. Translating them into modern vernacular, they are worthy of examination.

1. Faith must be maintained. This is what so many seek, when doubt clouds the mind as the last hour approaches. It does not seem to matter how long the Christian has walked in the path of faith. As with Corrie the questioning sometimes comes. We are all like children who constantly need to be told that we are loved.

2. Desperation must be avoided. Another wile of the devil is to bring up past sins and parade them before the mind of the Christian. We have been forgiven, and there is no need to pull out the past and review it morbidly. "Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name" (Acts 10:43).

3. Impatience must be avoided. When we come to die of old age or disease or accident, we should await the final outcome patiently. One man in the last hours of his life, suffering from leukemia, wrote in his final letter, "Now I am living totally in 'God Room.' No known human skill can further prolong my life and I am gloriously living and working in that space reaching beyond the utmost man and science can do. This is the area where miracles begin. If the greatest human skills and genius can do it, God is not required and it is no miracle. Miracles only begin at the point just beyond all furthest stretch of human ingenuity and possibility of accomplishment. That is God Room!" This man was patient, but hopeful, to the end.

4. Complacence must not rule. When Satan can't shake the faith of a believer, nor cause him to despair or be impatient, he may tempt him through spiritual pride. "Look how many good deeds I have done, how great my service has been for the Lord," may be the boast. We are taught in the Scriptures that we are saved by grace, through faith, it is a gift of God, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:9).

5. The temporal must not dominate. This is not difficult to understand. We are all so possessed by our possessions and absorbed in our earthly obligations that we set our minds on temporal and impermanent things, rather than fully committing ourselves to God.

We may not encounter any of these temptations, but if we do we must remember that the Bible says, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able; but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it" (I Corinthians 10:13, NASB). 

Our Patient Merciful God
The Bible and the Gospel speak of God's great mercy for us ...

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