Hail and Farewell



The “hail and farewell” is an old military tradition in which soldiers and their families attend a ceremony to welcome new soldiers or leaders and to bid farewell to those who have died, retired, or are leaving the organization for some other reasons. The tradition is a symbol of the way life changes — old faces leave and new faces come. Some who have been with us for a long time pass away even as new careers and families are started. And, yet, life goes on.

We saw an example of this at the beginning of this past week. A very well-respected businessman died at the age of 93. Samuel Truett Cathy was the founder of the popular Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant chain and a committed Christian. On the very day the world learned of his passing, the world also learned that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are now expecting a second child — a future heir to the throne of England.

It is easy for us to be swept along by the passing of time and the constant changes that take place in life without giving any thought to an existence beyond this physical, temporal one. But, as the Bible tells us in 1 John 2:17, this “world passeth away, and the lust [desires and cares] thereof…” Eventually, not only will each of us die, but the world that we live in will also pass away. These are not just biblical statements; even scientists have predicted that the world as we know it will one day come to an end.

However, the end of physical life and the end of the world, is not the end of existence. After we die, we will go somewhere. After this world passes away, a new world will be created in which all those who love God will live forever in peace and harmony. First John 2:17 goes on to say, “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

What is the will of God that we must do in order to “abide forever” (or live for eternity)? In John chapter 6, some people asked Jesus Christ, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” Jesus replied, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” God sent Jesus Christ to this world in order that we might be saved through Him. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you do the will of God by believing on Jesus Christ as your Savior, you will abide forever, or as the last verse says, you will have everlasting life. When we hear of others dying, it ought to cause us to consider our mortality and the fact that we will go somewhere after death.

We can never hope to have a peaceful and enjoyable eternal existence outside of God. He alone is the key to eternal life. However, sadly, we are separated from Him because of our sins, we cannot be in a perfect relationship with Him, and we are automatically destined for eternal punishment in a place called Hell.

God, however, does not want us to suffer in Hell, so He did something about it. As I read to you from John 3:16, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to pay for our sins. Now we can have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

When Jesus Christ came to earth, He died on the cross for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, in order that we would have a chance to begin a relationship with God. First Peter 3:18 says, “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (or made alive) by the Spirit.” After He died on the cross, Jesus rose from the dead demonstrating that He had removed the threat of death and Hell for those who choose to believe on Him.

If we want to begin a relationship with God, we must admit that we are sinners in need of forgiveness, and then trust Jesus Christ to save us from our sins and the consequences of our sins. If we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we do not have to be uncertain about death or our eternal future. We can face the changes Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

You can pray a short prayer to let God know that you have decided to trust Jesus Christ as your Saviour and that you want to begin a relationship with Him. Please repeat after me and mean it from your heart.

Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today and forever so that I can have your peace and assurance about my life today and my eternal future. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.”

Believe by faith. Share the faith. And keep the faith! God Bless You!