Church of Christ
Mission USA
“Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!”
By Perry Sexton

      The above quote is found in Numbers 23:10 and was made by the false and greedy prophet Balaam.  This statement represents multitudes in the world, and even some or maybe many in the church.  Have you ever known of anyone who really wants to go to Hell?  All would desire to die as a righteous man, but few are willing to live a righteous life which is so necessary for the former.  We are assured: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Gal. 6:7, 8).  The beauty is: a sower of unrighteousness can and must truly change his life if he is to “die as a righteous man” and reap the rewards of righteousness (Eze. 18:20-23).  The sad thing is that a sower of righteous can also change and become a sower of unrighteousness and die in this terrible state (Eze. 18:24ff).  In what state are we in right NOW?

      Consider the death of the righteous: “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace” ( Psa. 37:37 ); “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death” (Prov. 14:32); “…, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come2He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness” (Isa. 57:1, 2).  And the apostle Paul gave us more revelation on the matter: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:53-57).  Is it any wonder the Psamist said: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psa. 116:15)?

      The wicked desire this blessedness, but are not willing to pay the price for it.  They, even some among us, are not willing to fight the good fight and therefore keep the faith.  The wicked desire the end of a righteous life, but not the sacrificial life (Rom. 12:1).  O, but what a glorious end for those who do live a life of righteousness.  As Paul said: “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).  Paul encourages further: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).  O, what a glorious “end” for God’s creation, yea, rather “beginning” of eternal life!  But we must be very careful and not be deceived by false teachers among us (cp. 2 Pet. 2:1-3), nor by the “deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13).  Some, if not many, in the church dress like the world, talk like the world and in general live like the world, yet they too want the death of a righteous man!  They, evidently, think they can change the law set down in Genesis chapter one of “seed after his kind” in which Paul made so clear in Galatians 6:7, 8 concerning the spiritual. 

      What kind of seed are we sowing?  The apostle John warns of worldliness in 1 John 2:15-17 and Paul sets the example for us: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor. 9:27).  Paul further said: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).  That is how it must be for every person who desires the death and rewards of righteousness.  God has made it very plain for us: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9, 10); “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8); “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27). 

      Do we truly desire the death of the righteous?  If so, then live a righteous life!  It is not good enough to speak great and boastful words of how we love God or “All I want to do is what is right.”  Yea, the tongue “boasteth great things” (James 3:5), but God requires performance (cp. Matt. 7:21, etc.)!  Can we NOW, this very day declare truthfully: “I have fought [and am fighting] a good fight, … I have kept [and am keeping] the faith:” (cp. 2 Tim. 4:7)?  If this very day should be our last day on earth can we in truth say “I am ready”?  ♥