Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“. . . that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the Slanderer, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
The principal reason that most people can be forced to do evil is that they still fear death. Earthly judges and courts have many times forgiven a person for participating in crimes because that person was forced to participate by being threatened with death. High military officers honor captured soldiers who do not give away military secrets while being abused and threatened with death; at the same time, they do not condemn soldiers who in the same circumstances do give away military secrets. The military has executed soldiers who gave away state secrets for money, but those same commanders have shown compassion for those who do the same thing for fear of death.
Fear of death has always been one of man’s greatest means of manipulation. If an evil man can put someone in fear of death, he can usually persuade that person to do as he wants him to do.
There is a segment of the entertainment industry that specializes in and prospers by producing horror films, but they would never earn a penny in revenue from those movies if men did not fear death. Such things as strange monsters, sinister aliens, walking dead men, and murderers lurking in shadows can frighten only those who fear death. (Isn’t it strange that millions of movie-goers give their money away to movie-makers so that they can experience the thrill of fear, knowing all the time that what they are watching is fake!)
Jesus came to set us free from the fear of death, so that the ancient prophecy becomes a reality in our hearts: “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” Jesus tasted death for all of us, so that death becomes a mere passageway into eternal joy and peace. He has brought death out of the realm of fearfulness and has made it, along with everything else in this creation, to only be one more of the “all things” that he uses to bless us. When we take that truth into our hearts, this world’s horror films look silly, and no one can force us to do evil because their greatest weapon of coercion, the threat of death, has been changed into another of the Lord’s means to bless us.