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Sunday School: Christian Ethics (Pt. 15.1: Illness and Death)

February 23, 2020 Speaker: Series: Sunday School: Christian Ethics

(Taken from “How Long, O Lord?” by D.A. Carson)


BIG PICTURE: It’s important to try to establish Christian structures of thought that are already “givens” before pain and bereavement strike.

Sin, Sickness, and Death

  1. Death must be seen, not as the supreme instance of a cosmic lack of fairness, but as God’s well-considered sentence against our sin.
  2. Illness and death can be the immediate judicial consequence of a specific sin.
  3. Illness and death are not necessarily the immediate judicial consequence of a specific sin.
  4. There are some illnesses and deaths that are the consequences of sinful acts or behavior, where there is no supernatural judicial sentence but the “natural” outworking of cause and effect, under God’s providence.
  5. The Bible insists that God disciplines his people—whether as chastening punishment or as the toughening up of a soldier. Millions of Christians have been enabled by God’s grace to look back on terrible sorrow and thank God for what they have learned.
  6. If we are all under sentence of death, then an early death is less shocking than is sometimes assumed

Accepting Death

God’s Megaphone 

There are at least three ways in which pain and suffering, rightly received in faith, will contribute to our growth as Christians.

  1. In the words of Richard Baxter, “suffering so unbolts the door of the heart, that the Word hath easier entrance.”
  2. Illness, bereavement, and suffering actually shape us; they temper us; they mold us. We may not enjoy the process; but they transform us.
  3. Experiences of suffering, illness, and bereavement engender compassion and empathy in us, and therefore make us better able to help others.

Death Transcended