I am saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Charles Stanley, a well-known pastor and television personality. Though I never met Dr. Stanley or heard him preach in person, I am persuaded by what I read about him that he was a stalwart of faith who faithfully shepherded the flock of God at First Baptist Church in Atlanta for fifty years. From his sermons on television, I learned that God gifted him to expound a biblical text focusing on applying it to people’s daily lives. He knew how to point people to the biblical way of getting “in touch” with God and staying “in touch” with Him.
While the body of Christ in America grieves Dr. Stanley’s absence, we do not feel sorrowful as though we lost him. We have not! We shall see Dr. Stanley when Christ splits the eastern sky and descends with the last trumpet sound when the “dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor 15:52). Dr. Stanley finished his race well. To quote the apostle Paul, he “fought the good fight, he has finished the race, he has kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for him the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to him on that Day, and not to him only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7–8).
The fourteenth-century Dutch monk Thomas Kempis said: “Happy is the man who has the hour of his death always before his eyes, and daily prepares himself to die.” We are to prepare daily for death, which the Bible calls the “last enemy that will be destroyed” (1 Cor. 15:26). How do we do that? We do it by surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ, who conquered the last enemy of the soul, death, by His resurrection from the grave (1 Cor. 15:55). So then, those who are in Christ are truly prepared for what Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), the English theologian, calls “holy dying.”
Friend, do you know Christ as your Lord and Savior? Is your life safe in the arms of Christ? Are you prepared to meet your God when He calls you? I pray that you will seize this moment to make peace with God and live your life with the peace of God until the day of your summons by your creator.