Death. The last enemy. When it comes, death tears apart body and soul, leaving behind sorrow, loss, and pain. In God’s sovereign providence, death is very much on the minds of people all around the world as new counts of deaths caused by the coronavirus are reported daily in the news. When this issue was planned, we knew nothing of the scourge that was coming.

Death itself is painful. It is not natural, for it is God’s punishment for man’s sin.

The child of God does not have a terror of death, for our Lord went through death that He “might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliv­er them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:14, 15). By faith in that Lord, the believer knows that his death is not punishment for his sins, but rather “the abolishing of sin, and the passage into eternal life” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 16).

But that does not mean that dying or losing a beloved one through death is painless. It hurts.

This special edition is devoted to issues that believers face related to dying, death, and our hope in Christ. We send it forth with the prayer that it will help those who mourn, those who are watching a loved one die, and those who are facing death personally. It will demonstrate that God’s unchanging Word gives us as believers the instruction and comfort we need to face death by faith and in hope.